The Contributions of Temporary Protected Status Holders to the U.S. Economy


September 19, 2023

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program that allows certain individuals from designated countries that are facing severe temporary conditions, such as ongoing armed conflicts or natural disasters, to stay in the United States until it is deemed safe to return home. More than 354,000 immigrants lived and worked in the United States under TPS in 2021 alone.

TPS is granted for six, 12, or 18 months at a time, though the government can, and often does, extend the designation. During this designated period, the program provides TPS holders work authorization and protection from deportation. If the federal government decides to terminate or not to extend a TPS designation—as the Trump administration threatened to do for many designated countries—TPS holders, many of whom have lived in the United States for two decades or more, could be forced to return to places where violence is ongoing, such as El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, or Sudan.

For many, those realities would be cause enough to support the TPS program. However, additional benefits of allowing TPS holders to remain in the United States include workforce and economic considerations. In this report, we detail how the more than 354,000 people holding TPS status in 2021, the latest year for which socioeconomic data is available, made a significant impact on the U.S. economy.

Should their designation lapse, the deportation of TPS holders would describe a blow not only to immigrants and their family members, friends, employees, and coworkers in the United States, but also to the U.S. economy more broadly. In 2021 alone, TPS holders contributed more than $2.2 billion in taxes, including almost $1 billion to state and local governments. They also held $8 billion in spending power, which supports countless U.S. businesses when spent on items like groceries, haircuts, or rent.

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