Trump is killing temporary refugee program, or is he?

“I think we should fold all of the TPS people that have been here for a considerable period of time and find a way for them to be [on] a path to citizenship.”

(White House Chief of Staff John Kelly)

From time to time over the years, I’ve reported on the ridiculously named “Temporary Protected Status” immigration program that has allowed many migrants (who were likely already in the country illegally from TPS-designated countries) to stay in the US and work, get drivers licenses and probably thus vote!  (Designated usually in the wake of a now long forgotten natural disaster.)

trump wall thumbs up

How much is Trump going to give away to get the wall?

As The Hill reports, the Trump Administration is ordering that most (some of whom have been here for nearly 2 decades) begin to pack their bags.

But here we learn it is all apparently part of the ‘art of the deal,’ and that perhaps the administration will find them and the ‘Dreamers’ a path to citizenship if they get a few things, including the wall, but only if Congress actually passes a law—a comprehensive bill (ugh! it’s back!).

Can’t we for once address each immigration program on its merits or demerits! And are we really going to give legal status to hundreds of thousands who are here illegally?


From The Hill:

Trump close to wiping out TPS program for immigrants

With the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 56,000 Hondurans earlier this month, the nearly 30-year-old immigration program is essentially dead.

TPS had survived under several Republican and Democratic administrations, which mainly used the program as a pressure valve to allow Central American and Caribbean immigrants to live and work in the United States, often sending remittances home.

These remittances are huge and I remember when I first heard GW Bush extend TPS for El Salvadorans, the remark was made that we were propping up El Salvador because we permitted all those TPS workers here to send money ‘home.’  Of course that is money lost to the US economy!

But the Trump administration says the program has been abused, allowing people to stay in the United States long after crisis conditions have ended in their home countries. [Every 18 months TPS has been extended for many countries.—ed]

The Trump administration has ordered the end of TPS for more than 300,000 immigrants. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has so far ordered the end of TPS benefits to all but about 7,000 people from four countries, nearly booting the entire TPS population.

Under the program, immigrants from countries that have suffered a natural or man-made disaster are allowed to live and work in the United States while their home country recovers.


Previous administrations interpreted TPS rules to allow beneficiaries to stay in the United States as long as their return would impose a significant burden on their home countries. But the Trump administration has used a stricter interpretation, ending TPS based on countries’ recovery from the original disaster that triggered their designation.

The move has left hundreds of thousands of Caribbean and Central American TPS recipients in limbo, with many searching for a way to stay in the United States with their families.

Don’t get too excited that the program will end….The Hill story continues:

john kelly

Why is Kelly out floating the “four pillars” this week?

White House chief of staff John Kelly introduced the Trump administration’s stricter interpretation of the TPS statute when he became DHS secretary in 2017. He put the onus on Congress to help the TPS recipients, telling lawmakers they should change the laws they don’t like.

In an NPR interview Thursday, Kelly explicitly said for the first time that longtime TPS holders should be given a path to citizenship.

“I think we should fold all of the TPS people that have been here for a considerable period of time and find a way for them to be [on] a path to citizenship,” he said.


In his NPR interview, Kelly promoted the “four pillars” approach suggested by the White House in immigration negotiations earlier this year.

Under that approach, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — and potentially TPS holders — would receive a path to citizenship in exchange for border wall funding, a change from family-based to merit-based migration and cancellation of the diversity visa lottery.

“Right now, I would like to see legislatively the four pillars enacted,” Kelly said.

There is much more here at The Hill.

See all of my previous posts on TPS by clicking here.

Let the President know what you think! Link to the White House comment page is in the upper right hand side bar here at RRW.