Trump is seeking to end a program that is currently protecting 200,000 Salvadorans in his evil appeasement of his white supremacist base.
The designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has allowed innocent people to escape dangerous situations. The benefits that come from TPS are given to foreign citizens residing within the U.S. whose home countries have undergone extreme circumstances, including devastation from natural or man-made disasters, making the return to the home country dangerous or unsustainable.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have consistently renewed TPS country designations for the maximum 18-month period, based on holistic assessments of countries’ ability to reabsorb their emigrants.
The Trump administration has shaken immigration policy once again in a horrific fashion.
On Monday, the administration announced that it would end the protected status that has allowed over 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador to remain within the United States. This will force those Salvadoran people to either vacate the country or desperately search for other means to legally remain stateside.
Of course, this is not the first of such change to TPS. In fact, the announcement marks the fourth such change to TPS that has been made by the Trump administration, which has continued to display a strong stance for more strict immigration policy.
Between the TPS cuts and the conclusion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the administraiont has effectively ended immigration benefits for nearly 1 million people in less than a year.
Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus immigration taskforce, argued the decision would unnecessarily uproot people who have lived in the United States for decades.
“The White House is peddling a fantasy where hundreds of thousands of people who have established their lives, families, and businesses in the U.S. for decades will leave or can be rounded up and deported,” he insisted, adding that “turning immigrants living and working legally in the U.S. into undocumented immigrants defies logic, even for this president.”
The group of Salvadorans affected by the order has been present in the US since at least 2001 when TPS status was granted after two earthquakes caused great destruction in the country. The decision also allowed hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran civil war refugees to stay and work in the United States.
Unfortunately, under Trump, the DHS has become significantly more strict in its implementation of the TPS statute. In this case, only conditions directly related to the original disaster, the two earthquakes, are being taken into account.
“Following the 2001 earthquakes, El Salvador received millions of dollars in international aid,” said a senior administration official. “Accordingly, many reconstruction projects have been completed.”
The official stated that the decision to end the TPS status was made based on whether El Salvador would be able to take back the TPS beneficiaries, regardless of their situation in the United States. The official continued, “conditions on the ground is really what we look at. We don’t look at economic impact in the U.S.”
Senior administration officials added that an “interagency review process” considered country conditions in El Salvador and its ability to take back its citizens.
A couple of issues arise with the end of the TPS benefits for Salvadorans. First, the country is still one of the most dangerous in the world, hosting persistent gang violence. Second, the country is still one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. Third, the deportation of Salvadoran TPS holders would cost $1.8 billion and lead to a GDP reduction of $3.9 billion.
DHS officials argue that the Trump administration is simply the first in the program’s existence to treat it as the temporary program that it was originally intended to be.
There is currently a threat of a government shutdown due to tension between the White House and Congress about legislation that would allow DACA recipients to remain in the United States. The negotiations are tied to efforts to prevent the shutdown. The change in TPS compounds the DACA issue, so this may strain the negotiations further.
H/T: The Hill