The Latino Commission on AIDS and Latinos in the South are proud to have partnered with Alianza Americas and Asociación de Guatemaltecos Unidos NC to advocate for resolutions across North Carolina cities and towns in support of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guatemalans. These actions support a national campaign by Alianza Americas to urge the Biden-Harris administration to immediately issue a designation of Temporary Protected Status for Guatemalan national residing in the US in order for them to remain with their families in the US and avoid future deportations.
As a member organization of Alianza Americas, the Latino Commission on AIDS worked with council member Javiera Caballero to introduce and champion the resolution at the Durham City Council meeting on Monday, April 18, 2023.
"The City of Durham is standing in solidarity with our neighbors and friends and calling on the Executive Office of the President of the United States to act immediately and designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guatemala. Additionally, we call on the Department of Homeland Security to grant a TPS designation for Guatemalans currently residing in the United States. This humanitarian program provides support to people fleeing political instability, natural disasters, and violence." - Javiera Caballero, at-large council member for the City of Durham
In Carrboro, town council member Eliazar Posada introduced and championed the resolution which was adopted unanimously by the council on Tuesday, April 19, 2023. The Guatemalan Consul General, Jorge Archila who thanked both the Durham City Council and Carrboro Town Council for their leadership estimates that close to 90,000 Guatemalans live in North Carolina many of who may be eligible and benefit from TPS.
The Asociación de Guatemaltecos Unidos NC, a statewide organization of Guatemalans in the Carolinas co-led the effort, mobilizing community support for these efforts.
"The adoptation of this resolution is a strategy that grassroots leaders have implemented demonstrating that effective advocacy at the local level will garner support to improve the quality of life of immigrant and migrant communities, specifically for those who could benefit from a TPS designation for Guatemala. This will allow us to shed light on the root causes of forced migration from Guatemala and educate local governments on how they can take significan measures to build cities that welcome undocumented immigrant communities" -Eleazar Cifuentes, president of the Asociacion de Guatemaltecos Unidos en Carolina del Norte.
For the Latino Commission on AIDS, these efforts by local governments reaffirm how important immigrant communities in shaping communities at large. For many immigrants living in the US, the barriers to accessing health care include fear of arrest and deportation, as well as the lack of transportation and the cost of health care. The designation of TPS for Guatemalans would help to address these barriers.
"Undocumented immigrants in North Carolina are not eligible for drivers licenses in North Carolina, and more broadly have limited access to health insurance which significantly reduces health care costs. The designation of TPS would address all these concerns and improve health care access for thousands of North Carolinian families. TPS holders can access drivers licenses, employer-based health insurance, and would live free of fear of deportation. Embracing immigrant communities improves the health and wellness of our state." -Judith Montenegro, Program Director of Latinos in the South, Latino Commission on AIDS