By Briana Panetta and Tristan Manalato
Long Island’s economy could potentially lose up to $2 billion if the “Temporary Protected Status” is not renewed, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.
The possible termination of the “Temporary Protected Status” program puts thousands of immigrants at risk. TPS grants immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Nepal temporary residence in the United States due to conflict in their countries. It is estimated that about 10,000 Long Islanders are living under TPS.
From 2010-2016, the Hispanic population in Nassau and Suffolk rose 16 percent, and the Asian population rose 21.6 percent according to the Long Island Association Research Institute Census Update.
“The decision not to extend TPS will cause thousands of hard working and stable residents to lose their immigration status and ability to work, cause the loss of homes and jobs, and create instability for families and community at large,” Matthew Cohen, Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications at Long Island Association.
The first Asian supermarket in Nassau County, Super Fl Mart, opened in Mineola less than a week ago.
“Generally speaking, I think New York is quite open to immigrants,” Gordan Zhang, chairman of the Long Island Chinese American Association, said. “It’s more liberal and more diverse compared to other states.”
Members that work alongside the Trump administration claim diversity is encouraged while illegal immigration is not.
“Here on Long Island, we have a large population of not only Hispanics but a number of ethnicities that happen to be undocumented,” Juan Pablo Andrade, Policy Advisor for America First Policy and member of the Hispanic Advisory Council said. Andrade advised President Trump during his campaign in 2016. Since then, Trump’s immigration ideas have changed. “We have no intention of breaking up families, ripping people out of their houses, or breaking communities apart. We want to encourage immigration in this country but legal immigration.”
While the Long Island community has embraced the Hispanic and Asian immigrant presence, some feel immigrants are facing neglect on a federal level.
“Having the ability to grow up in an area where there’s a lot of diversity is nothing but added value to somebody’s life,” Rob Banez, founder of the Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others (PUSO) said. “If this were to happen when I was in the womb then folks such as myself wouldn’t even be here today and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”