ACHA Statement on the Termination of Temporary Protected Status

May 14, 2018

In recent months, the Trump Administration has announced the end of special immigration status for hundreds of thousands of refugees living in the United States. These refugees came to this country in the wake of war, natural disaster, and violence, taking advantage of a special accommodation known as “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS). Over 430,000 people enjoy this status, but the protections for refugees of six nationalities will terminate, starting as early as this November, affecting hundreds of thousands and forcing deportations to countries wracked with extreme violence and recent natural disasters. Among those impacted will be refugees of all ages, including college students and their families.

The American College Health Association stands with these individuals and reiterates its belief that termination of their protected status will seriously jeopardize the physical and mental health and well-being of our nation’s college students who are currently protected under TPS. In addition, uncertainty about the program’s status places an immeasurable burden on the ability of these students to learn, achieve, and graduate.

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Forced by violence and catastrophe, these refugees did not themselves make the decision to come to the United States, but this is now their home. In America, the individual and societal benefits of education cannot be overstated, and terminating access to education seriously jeopardizes the American dream. The decision to terminate these protections and deport thousands of young people to countries where their safety and even their lives are threatened violates our national principles of fairness, equality, and justice. Therefore, the American College Health Association urges leaders in Congress to defend these refugees by swiftly enacting legislation that will protect their legal status, allowing them to remain, study, and work in the United States. To do otherwise is unhealthy, unjust, and un-American.