If DHS follows through with revocation, Congress will have to step up
The Washington Post is reporting that the State Department is recommending that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) be revoked for over 300,000 Honduran, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Salvadorans living and working in the United States. This recommendation is likely to result in a final DHS termination decision – expected on Monday – that threatens families and key industries in the United States and threatens the stability of nations in our region.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
The State Department is playing ball with the nativists in the White House and DHS who are intent on pursuing a misguided and un-American mass deportation strategy. Clearly, Rex Tillerson is not listening to the professionals. This recommendation is not based on the country conditions or the impact of hundreds of thousands of nationals suddenly returning to fragile countries. Rather, they are leaking this terrible news late on a Friday night in a cowardly fashion. Without question, the wiser course would be to extend TPS for 18 months. But this Administration seems more interested in deporting settled immigrants – even if it destabilizes neighboring countries – than in doing what is wise.
Some key facts to consider:
- Honduran, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries work hard, pay taxes and work as essential workers in critical industries. They are parents to nearly 275,000 U.S. citizen children. Many who work in the construction industry are helping the recovery efforts in Florida and Houston following the hurricanes. Many are construction supervisors and home health care professionals. No wonder the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes revoking TPS.
- These nations are in no condition to receive 300,000 returnees. In Haiti, forcing the return of 50,000 people would disrupt the fragile recovery, exacerbate the food, housing, and public health crises, and potentially destabilize the new government. In El Salvador and Honduras, the return of over 250,000 people would strain government services and lead to job displacement in countries besieged by violence, narcotics trafficking and weak institutions.
- The revocation of TPS will further destabilize fragile countries in our neighborhood. With remittances making up more than 15% of the GDP of TPS-designated countries, the sudden loss will put an added strain on the U.S. foreign aid budget while families who have long relied on this source of income will have no other option than to attempt to come to the U.S. as undocumented workers.
This Administration seems more interested in throwing red meat to the nativist base than in keeping immigrant families together, keeping essential workers in the economy, and in keeping neighboring nations from being further destabilized. A defining feature of America is our tradition as a beacon of hope for people who escape violence and desperate conditions and contribute so much to the nation that welcomes them. The Trump Administration has been trashing this core aspect of our identity from the beginning, starting with its first disastrous Friday Night immigration decision – the Muslim Ban. If the Trump Administration continues down this road, only Congress can save the day. We will need bipartisan legislation that that serves our nation’s interests and reflects our nation’s values – something this Administration seems ignorant of.