Elise Foley of HuffPost puts the latest disturbing news about the end of TPS for Hondurans into a larger context, explaining in a new must-read article “more than a million people in total who have been living and working legally in the U.S. who, thanks to Trump, now face an uncertain future, one in which they may be driven out of the workforce, ripped away from their families and sent back to countries ― some of them dangerous ― that they haven’t seen in years.”
Below, we excerpt parts of Foley’s important article, with the full version available online here: “Trump Promised To Reshape America. He’s Already Told 1 Million Immigrants Who Had Legal Protections To Get Out”:
From the day he launched his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has made it pretty clear what he wants America to look like. He doesn’t want Mexico’s “bad people,” immigrants from countries he did or did not describe as “shithole nations,” or refugees he says are a “Trojan horse” seeking to do Americans harm.
And he’s made some progress in carrying out that vision. Trump has moved to terminate temporary protections for more than a million people, effectively telling a population the size of Rhode Island to either leave the country or face deportation. He’s looking to make it harder for asylum-seekers to find refuge in the U.S. And Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 140,000 immigrants last fiscal year, while building up a force that will aim to detain tens of thousands more.
Trump’s latest efforts to curb immigration came on Friday, when the Department of Homeland Security announced it will end temporary protected status, or TPS, for immigrants from Honduras. That means 57,000 Hondurans who found refuge in the U.S. after Hurricane Mitch wrecked their country in 1998 will have to leave or find another legal status by 2020.
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Trump also put the futures of some 690,000 undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children in jeopardy when he terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last fall. The president argued he was forced to end the DACA program because it was unconstitutional and said lawmakers should instead create a legal solution for these Dreamers, as they’re known. But those efforts failed ― in part when Trump demanded major concessions in exchange ― and Dreamers remain in a precarious position. They’re currently safe because court rulings have kept DACA running in part, but that could change, and they could yet again risk losing protections that have let them live and work without fear.
That’s more than a million people in total who have been living and working legally in the U.S. who, thanks to Trump, now face an uncertain future, one in which they may be driven out of the workforce, ripped away from their families and sent back to countries ― some of them dangerous ― that they haven’t seen in years.
If they stay without authorization, TPS and DACA recipients could be caught up in a deportation system that is increasingly sweeping up people without criminal records. The Trump administration has said repeatedly that no one is exempt from enforcement and that it won’t look the other way if it finds another undocumented immigrant while looking for one of its targets. About 17 percent of the people deported from the interior of the country last yearwere noncriminals, a massive jump from the year before, when people without criminal convictions made up 8 percent of the removals from the interior.
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He would exclude more immigrants if he could. “They’re not sending their finest,” he said Friday of migrants apprehended at the border. “That I can tell you. We’re getting some real beauties in here.”
Trump wants to end the diversity visa lottery, which allows many people from African countries to move to the U.S., and to limit family-based migration, which he derisively refers to as “chain migration.” He is also seeking policy changes that would allow the government to detain and deport more people who seek asylum at the border, rather than releasing them into the U.S. while their cases are being heard.
In sum, the trend is to restrict immigration.
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In addition, Noorani says, now that Trump is following through on campaign promises on immigration, many people experience direct effects on their businesses and communities and it changes their opinion. And there’s only so much Trump can do. The demographic trends of the country would be nearly impossible to stop, especially without major changes to legal immigration that would require congressional action. The Senate has rejected the president’s immigration policy platform, which would have included legal protections for DACA-eligible immigrants but also restricted legal immigration pathways and made it easier to reject people who request asylum.
Terminating DACA and TPS wouldn’t guarantee all of those individuals would leave the country, either. Even without legal protections, both Dreamers and TPS holders might stay in the U.S. because they have built lives here, or because they believe their native country is too dangerous, even if Homeland Security doesn’t.
“This is our home,” Martinez Rosas said. “We’re going to fight as much as possible to stay here.”