The Town of Chapel Hill voted unanimously last week to support the continuation of Temporary Protected Status for those who live in North Carolina and Chapel Hill.

Since 1990, Temporary Protected Status or TPS, a program created by Congress, has provided protection from deportation and employment authorization to individuals from countries that have experienced war, environmental disaster, or other life-threatening conditions such as crime and cannot safely return to their home countries.

Council Member Maria Palmer led the motion and invited present TPS beneficiaries who live in Chapel Hill to join her and stand at the front of the meeting hall.

“Some of these folks work in nursing homes, some work at the hospitals, they have been meeting at United Church of Chapel Hill and organizing, and they travel to Washington to lobby, which takes a lot of courage when your status is at play, and they knocked on doors, and I’m really proud to say that our Congressmen, David Price, was one of the few who understood TPS,” said Palmer.

According to the resolution, over 13,000 people living in North Carolina hold TPS from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti; and over 11,000 U.S.-born children in North Carolina have parents from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti who have TPS.

“These thousands of persons living in North Carolina on TPS, contribute millions of dollars, let me repeat that, they contribute millions of dollars to our state’s gross domestic product and are integral members of our state’s social fabric,” said Palmer, reading the resolution.

The resolution states that this unanimous support from the council follows the Trump Administration’s indications that it strongly is considering declining to renew TPS for certain countries.

TPS protections for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Sudan, and Somalia have been in place for approximately 20 years, but earlier this month, the Trump Administration ended TPS for roughly 2,500 Nicaraguans through January 2019 and extended TPS for Honduran immigrants for six months through July of next year.

The Trump administration also ended TPS status for Sudan beginning November of 2018.

Additionally, the Trump Administration has until Thanksgiving Day to decide whether or not to renew TPS, for 50,000 Haitian recipients that ends in January of 2018.

The town’s resolution also calls on Congress to find a permanent legislative solution that grants residency to TPS holders.