Archive for the ‘TPS Info’ Category


Monday, November 8th, 2010

We made it through the election and are getting into the now-or-never phase of the TPS request.  The two months leading up to the election were remarkably silent, with nearly no TPS news and absolute silence from the official channels.  But now that the election is behind us, things may finally be on the move.

The first sign of this was a short statement from Guatemalan Foreign Minister Haroldo Rodas, who was quoted in Prensa Libre as stating that the TPS process is in American hands now. Guatemala has complied with all the application requirements, has gathered broad support for its request, and can now only wait for a decision from President Obama’s administration.

The statement itself holds little news, but the fact that Mr. Rodas has finally said something is far more exciting.  As we noted, the official channels were silent leading up to the election, and it appears that our suspicion that discussion of TPS pending the vote may have had some weight.  We now have the first official comment in months coming from the Guatemalan government just two days after the US elections.

Is this a sign of progress? We can’t say for sure, but we certainly hope so.

President Colom Did Not Press TPS In Call With Obama

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Many of you have noticed that our site has stayed quiet for the last week on the biggest story in US-Guatemalan relations; the discovery that US researchers, with help from Guatemalan health officials, intentionally infected Guatemalan prisoners with Syphilis.  Our decision to not report on this issue was a difficult one, but it was intentional, as we felt that the story had little to do with either TPS or immigration in general.  Still, we held some hope that either the Obama or Colom administration would use this opportunity to press home the other main issue in US-Guatemalan relations: TPS.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Prensa Libre recently reported that President Colom has clearly stated that TPS did not come up during his recent conversation with President Obama.  The conversation occurred when Mr. Obama called Mr. Colom to formally apologize for the abhorrent research. Very little detail was given on the content of the call, and there was some speculation that President Colom may have asked that some progress be made on the TPS issue. However, the Guatemalan president’s statement on the issue makes it clear that this was not the case.

We keenly understand the sensitive nature of international relations, and would not presume to judge what one president should say to another, especially at such a delicate time. We do, however, hope that both sides considered the elephant in the room, even if nobody mentioned it explicitly.

City of Chicago Committee on Human Relations Supports Guatemalan TPS

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

On October 1, the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Human Relations voted in support of the Guatemalan TPS Request. Specifcially, the Committee voted in support of a resolution presented by Alderman Roberto Maldonado, of the City’s 26th Ward.  The resolution calls upon President Obama to grant the TPS request on humanitarian grounds, and this vote is yet another example of the growing political support on all levels of the US political world.  After passing through the Committee, the resolution was passed to the whole Council, which voted on the matter on October 6.  The results of that voted have not been posted on the City Council’s site yet, but we will update this post as soon as we hear something. If any of our readers were present at the Oct 6 Chicago City Council meeting and can tell us how the vote went, please drop us a line at

While some people may question the significance of a City Council resolution, we’re not dealing with just any city here.  In addition to being one of America’s largest cities, Chicago is the adopted home of President Obama and is the place where he started his political career.  Chicago plays such an important role in the current administration that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel just resigned his position so that he can run for Mayor of Chicago. So, there’s a very good chance that this vote will have some impact on President Obama’s decision.  Of course, it is still quite unlikely that we will have a final verdict before the upcoming election.

Progress on TPS: McFarland Sends Report to Washington

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland submitted a report to Washington on the effects of Tropical Storm Agatha and the volcanic eruption this spring.  While the report itself is not available at the moment, the fact that the report was submitted is a clear indication that progress is being made on the TPS request, and that the Obama administration has not completely forgotten about Guatemala.

The report follows a visit by Ambassador McFarland to San Lucas Tolimán, which was seriously impacted by Agatha. About 120 families are still without permanent shelter there, with rebuilding efforts being led by USAID and the local Catholic diocese. The official story on Ambassador McFarland’s visit to San Lucas is available here (in English) and here (in Spanish).

The submission of the report is a good sign for everyone awaiting TPS, and will hopefully lead to more progress on the request.  It is still unlikely that a final decision will be reached before November, but November keeps getting closer, so news like this is certainly a positive sign.

U.S. Honors Guatemalan Independence Day, Still No Word on TPS

Monday, September 13th, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has issued a statement congratulating Guatemala on the 189th anniversary of its independence.  The statement recognizes “the great contributions” made by the Guatemalan community in the United States, and reiterated the “close partnership” between the people of the two nations. In addition, Secretary Clinton took the opportunity to highlight the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative and the Central American Regional Security Initiatives, two U.S. programs that provide assistance to Guatemala.

However, the statement is silent on the one U.S.-Guatemalan issue of greatest interest to readers of this blog (and to that greatly-contributing Guatemalan community in general). The issue is, of course, the matter of TPS. While Secretary Clinton did wish “a happy independence day and a prosperous year,” and noted that she “look[s] forward to continuing the partnership between our countries,” she made no mention of the recent natural disasters, or of the outstanding request for Temporary Protected Status.

There has, unfortunately, been nothing but silence on the issue for months now, and it appears highly unlikely that we will get any real news before November.  With election season in full swing and a raft of other issues on the President’s plate, it is hard to imagine any immediate movement on this issue. The primary hope for the many members of the Guatmalan diaspora anxiously awaiting word on this most pressing of matters is that something positive will come out of the scheduled November meeting between presidents Obama and Colom.

New Analysis Supports TPS for Guatemala

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Eurasia Review , an online news and analysis magazine, has published an article by Carly Steinberger, who writes for the Council for Hemispheric Affairs. Carly’s analysis compares the situation in Guatemala with that of the Central American countries that have been granted TPS, and comes to the same conclusion as Senator John Kerry, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and just about everyone else who has looked at this issue: Guatemala should be granted TPS.

It is always encouraging to read about new support for the TPS request, and we can only hope that this latest bit of analysis will be yet another weight that pushes the scales in Guatemala’s favor.  Stayed tuned for additional news.

P.S. Carly’s article was reprinted by EnerPub, a syndication site primarily focused on energy-related news.

Hopes for TPS Not Dead (yet)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

We have received several emails from our readers asking if there is any hope remaining that the Obama administration will grant the Guatemalan request for TPS.  It is quite understandable that people are getting impatient, as the Obama administration has taken a long time to respond to the request.  However, as the saying goes, hope springs eternal.

This hope exists not only here, but in Guatemala as well. Prensa Libre reported recently that President Colom is seeking to meet with president Obama in order to press the case for Guatemalan TPS. While the date for this meeting has not been set yet, it appears most likely to occur in November, when president Obama is scheduled to travel to a summit of Central American presidents in the Dominican Republic. Other possible dates for the meeting include the scheduled UN summit in September, or a standalone bilateral meeting before then. This last option is unlikely, at the presidents have had some trouble reconciling their agendas. The Prensa Libre report suggests that the meeting in November has already been scheduled, so this is the most likely time for a TPS discussion between Colom and Obama.

Unfortunately, this seems to suggest that we won’t have an answer on TPS before late November at the earliest.

El original esta disponible en Español aqui.

John Kerry To Be Honored For TPS Support

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Prensa Libre reported today that the Guatemalan Congress intends to honor Senator Kerry for his recent support for the Guatemala TPS request.  The President of the Legislature, Roberto Alejos, called for an official Congressional Order recognizing Senator Kerry’s hard work in support of the TPS request, including his recent letter to President Obama urging the administration to grant the request.  There is hope that Senator Kerry will travel to Guatemala to receive the award, a trip that would simultaneously draw attention to the TPS request and allow the Senator to see how dire the situation is in Guatemala.

We would like to add our thanks to Senator Kerry, and to all of the other legislators who have expressed their support for the TPS request. Their support lends hope that the TPS request will be granted, a development that would ease the flood of deportations back to a country that is in no shape to properly absorb the return of over sixteen thousand deportees since January.

No News Yet

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

It has been a quiet TPS news week, with nothing really new coming out of either Washington or Guatemala City.   Whether this is because of the upcoming Congressional vacation, the attention brought to the lawsuits filed against Arizona, or something else, the end result is that we have nothing new to report.

Well, almost nothing.  This morning, Erik Maza at the Miami Times Blog (the first English-language blog to pick up the story of Guatemala’s TPS request, and one of the key inspirations for this site) informed us that he has an updated post up today.  The post provides very little new information (probably because there’s not much new to report), but Eric does a nice job of summarizing the events of the past two months and bringing people who are new to the story up to speed. Thank you Erik, it is nice to see that we’re not the only ones tracking the issues!

House Subcommittee Letter Available

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

As we reported yesterday, members of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere wrote to President Obama urging him to grant Guatemala’s TPS request.  We spoke to the office of Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), and received confirmation of the letter.  This morning we received an even better surprise: an actual copy of the letter, kindly forwarded to us by Representative Ros-Lehtinen’s office!

The letter is available for your viewing pleasure at this hand-crafted link, and the text of the letter is included below, for easy reference:

July 15,2010

The President

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to immediately direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Guatemalans currently in the United States for an appropriate length of time relative to the current crisis.

As you know, on May 29,2010, Guatemala was hit hard by two natural disasters – Tropical Storm Agatha and the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano. Tropical Storm Agatha caused devastating floods and mudslides throughout Guatemala. The two disasters left 174 people dead and 104,639 people homeless. Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom declared a State of Public Calamity in the entire country.

The socioeconomic impact of these disasters is estimated to be greater than either Tropical Storm Stan in 2005 or Hurricane Mitch in 1998. In addition to the immediate impact of Tropical Storm Agatha, torrential rains and mudslides continued to affect Guatemala throughout June.

As you are aware, nationals of a country may be designated for TPS when that country has suffered an environmental disaster resulting in a substantial, temporary disruption of living conditions and it is temporarily unable to handle adequately the return of its nationals. With Tropical Storm Agatha and the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala has more than exceeded the conditions for TPS designation.

Honduras and El Salvador were also affected, although to a lesser degree, by Tropical Storm Agatha. Citizens of both countries living in the United States currently receive TPS. In fact, TPS for Honduras, EI Salvador and Nicaragua was recently extended to 2012. Unfortunately, Guatemalans living in the United States enjoy no such benefits.

Additionally, we urge the U.S. to continue its focused approach to support the government of Guatemala in its efforts to restore order within the country and ensure an expedited and lasting recovery from this most recent disaster.

Extending TPS to Guatemalans currently living in the United States would provide significant humanitarian benefits. As Members of Congress who care deeply about the Western Hemisphere, we urge you to act swiftly to grant TPS to Guatemalans in the United States.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


Eliot L. Engel
House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Connie Mack
Ranking Member
House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

Jim McGovern
Vice Chairman
House Committee on Rules

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ranking Member
House Committee on Foreign Affairs

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Representatives Engel, Mack, McGovern, and Ros-Lehtinen for their support on this important issue.  As the letter notes, the humanitarian benefits of TPS for Guatemalans would be significant, and would be well in line with our treatment of similarly situated nations.   It is incredibly encouraging to see bipartisan support for an issue that is so pressing to so many.