The Trump administration today announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status for some 200,000 otherwise-illegal aliens from El Salvador. The beneficiaries of this “temporary” status happen to have been lucky enough to be living here illegally at the time of some earthquakes back home – in 2001. Their “temporary” status has been routinely renewed and, for all the hyperventilation about today’s move, the TPS-ers won’t lose their work authorization (which is the core issue) until September 2019.
It’s long past time for this “temporary” status to end. TPS was passed in 1990 as a way to amnesty illegal aliens who couldn’t qualify for asylum, and its temporary-ness has been a sham from day one. (I’ve been writing about this for years; see here and here.) This administration has finally been moving toward ending the charade; TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans was ended last year (albeit with long lead times), and the termination of Honduran TPS will likely be announced later this year.
Opponents of these moves seem to think that when the TPS-ers lose their work permits and revert to their prior status, they will somehow be treated differently from all the other illegals living here – i.e., that they’ll all be deported, en masse. Regarding El Salvador specifically, over the past decade we’ve been deporting about 20,000 people each year; even if that number were doubled, and the entire increase represented people who have TPS now, it would be 2030 before all were removed.
The very fact that we’re deporting anyone to El Salvador eliminates the rationale for TPS, which is supposed to be for situations when “extraordinary and temporary conditions” mean that the country is unable “to handle adequately the return” of its nationals.
The arguments offered by anti-borders groups against today’s move are more appropriately directed at Congress: The TPSers have settled in and had children here, for instance, and that El Salvador has come to depend on their remittances. If the people’s elected representatives find these arguments compelling, they can pass legislation upgrading the Salvadorans with TPS to full green card status. To demand that the executive continue a program after its statutory justification has passed is just more end-justifies-the-means thinking from the Left.