Teaching a friend about Temporary Protective Status and what we can do in Omaha

By Sr. Marie Alice Ostry, ND

One time while a friend and I were sharing about some of the events in our country the issue of immigration came up. 

We started talking about the effects our immigration laws have on both newcomers to our borders and those who have lived here for many years. We began talking about the latter group, people with Temporary Protected Status. TPS is given to people coming from countries where they are experiencing life threatening situations. Our government has given them “temporary” asylum. 

The reality of “temporary” protection

When TPS was established there was no “end time” set so some of the people have been here for 15 to 20 years. They must be gainfully employed; they pay Social Security and taxes, but are not able to receive any government benefits. They own their homes, and every 18 months or so are required to “re-establish” their position as TPS recipients. This includes a fee of around $500 per person to “reapply” for the TPS status. 

If the application does not come in time they are in danger of being sent back to their countries-of-origin immediately! This is not only stressful for the TPS adults but also their children as they do not know if someday they could come home from school and find out that their parents have been sent back to the country from which they came. Some of the children are U.S. citizens.

What can we do?

My friend was surprised to learn about the stress and strain the TPS people were under as well as the amount of paperwork they had to go through so often. She wanted to help. I said that Congress is considering a pathway for citizenship so we need to support this action by writing to our congress representatives.

This is one example of “listening” to the Spirit to invite someone into relationship with God’s people by sharing concern for our sisters and brothers who have come from other areas of the world.

Sr. Mary Kay Meagher suggests following, supporting, and joining a local group called Ixim, a group she has been working with for nearly two decades. 

For instance, a national night prayer vigil was held across the US on June 10 for TPS recipients, and following Ixim would be a great way to attend the next vigil or event for this issue.