What is TPS?
TPS or Temporary Protected Status allows foreign nationals to stay and work in the United States without fear of removal for eighteen months. After each 18-month period, the status may be renewed. This status is granted on the basis of lack of safety in the individual's home country. Historically, TPS has been given on the basis of natural disasters in Haiti, Nepal, El Salvador, and Honduras. It also has been given to individuals experiencing the ravages of Civil War in Yemen and Syria. Individuals with Temporary Protected Status are not Illegal Immigrants, but they are also not U.S. citizens.
Why is the U.S. revoking TPS?
Individuals who benefit from TPS are aware they live in a state of limbo. This is the argument the administration utilizes. TPS has been and is temporary. It is not a path to full citizenship. However, people are free to apply for citizenship while here.
TPS was granted to Hondurans in 1999 in lieu of the 1998 Hurricane. It was given to Salvadorans on the basis of earthquakes in 2001. The U.S. claims that the Honduran and Salvadoran economies have recovered enough over the past 20 years. They have the means to reabsorb their respective populations.
Ultimately, revoking the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is part of one of the larger goals of this administration. This administration wants to appear hard on immigration. It has to. It is one of the key aspects that got them elected. We have seen this unfold over the course of the year, from the travel bans to the attempts at dismantling DACA.
But should the U.S. revoke TPS?
Yes, TPS is technically temporary. But how can you send someone back to a country they have not stepped foot for in over 15 years? Are we really sending them home? Is this not their home? Many of these individuals have established families, homes, careers, and lives here.
Yes, the natural disasters are long over. However, there are still circumstances that could be considered unsafe. El Salvador and Honduras have some of the highest homicide and murder rates in the world. In 2015, El Salvador had 109 homicides per 100,000 people and Honduras had 64 per 100,000 people, the highest per capita. By sending individuals under TPS back to their country of origin in current times, we are eventually setting them up for failure and maybe even death. Children especially are prone to recruitment by gangs like MS-13.
By sending TPS recipients back, the U.S. also fails to recognize and accept the responsibility it has in creating unsafe conditions in Central America and the migrant crisis in Central America. It fails to recognize how its earlier imperial and military involvement in Central America has led to this mass migration of immigrants from Central America.