Posts Tagged ‘Legislative Support’

Norma Torres Held Town Hall on Guatemalan TPS in Los Angeles

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

It has been a very long time since we have heard anything new about Guatemala’s TPS request, and many people have given up hope. Many perhaps, but not everyone. California Assemblymember Norma Torres was scheduled to give a speech at a town hall meeting last night specifically dedicated to the Guatemalan TPS request.

We just found out about the meeting this morning, which is unfortunate, as we would have happily shared the news and encouraged all of our L.A.-area friends to attend and support the meeting. Nonetheless, we appreciate Assemblymember Torres’s dedication and unflagging support of this issue, and hope that her office will be able to provide us with a copy of her speech to share with everyone here.

If you went to the town hall last night, please leave a comment below and let us know what you thought.

Update on Chicago’s Official Support for TPS

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Back in October, we reported that the Chicago City Council appeared to support Guatemala’s TPS request.  At the time, the Council had taken a vote on a supportive resolution, but the results of that resolution were not available.

Well, the results are now online (on page 87 of the PDF), and were recently referenced by the Guatemalan foreign ministry. As it turns out, the vote was unanimous, with all 47 voting members supporting Guatemala’s request for assistance!

Of course, the vote isn’t binding in any way, but it is important to remember the significance of Chicago.  President Obama considers the Windy City his home, and he got his political start there. His chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is one of the favored candidates to replace Mayor Daly, and there are many political connections between the City and the President. So, while the Chicago City Council certainly can’t tell Mr. Obama what to do, its support is a good sign indeed.

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.

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.

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.

Even more Congressional Support for TPS!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry issued a press release stating that members of the Congressional Foreign Relations Comittee’s Subcomittee on the Western Hemisphere sent a letter to President Obama stating that they believe that Guatemala meets the qualifications for TPS.  The letter isn’t binding, of course, but is yet another example of the growing legislative support for Guatemalan TPS, and is in itself a very encouraging sign.

Particularly noteworthy is that this support was bipartisan, drawing support from both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the committee. We just got off the phone with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen‘s office, and they kindly confirmed that she had signed on to the letter.

John Kerry Lends His Support to the Guatemalan TPS Effort

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The latest public figure to lend their support to the Guatemalan TPS effort is none other than former Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator John Kerry.  In a development that has seen more widespread reporting than any TPS news since the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, Senator Kerry submitted a letter to President Obama calling for the administration to grant TPS.

The full text of the letter is available on Senator Kerry’s official site, marking a significant departure from the undisclosed letters submitted by other lawmakers. Senator Kerry’s letter highlights the challenges facing Guatemala as it struggles to rebuild after last months dual natural disasters and points out that “[t]he temporary assistance provided by TPS would go a long way to help Guatemala get back on their feet.”

More Legislative Support for Guatemalan TPS

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Last week, we posted a brief note about reported Congressional support for the Guatemalan TPS application.  That initial report actually related to a letter of support submitted by California Assemblymember Norma Torres, and we hope to have a copy of her letter up on here for you soon.

In the meantime, one of our commenters, Sergio, posted a link to a report of additional legislative support.  We spent some time tracking the news down, and can happily confirm the news: members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus signed onto a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, expressing their support for the Guatemalan TPS application. As with the earlier letter, we are working on getting a copy of the letter posted.

We have also placed requests for copies of the letters submitted by Nevada Assemblymembers Mo Denis and Ruben Kihuen, and will update everyone here as soon as we hear something back.


UPDATE: We got a hold of someone at the Hispanic Congressional Caucus and they confirmed that they did submit a letter in support of TPS, but informed us that they do not release the letters to the public. So, it looks like we’re going to have a hard time getting a copy of that letter to share with you all.