The U.S. Is (Unsurprisingly) Revoking Temporary Protected Status

The U.S. Is (Unsurprisingly) Revoking Temporary Protected Status

But it definitely should not.
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On May 4. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen, declared an end to TPS for Hondurans. In early January, a similar decision was made for Salvadorans.

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.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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