Temporary Protected Status Extended to Haitians (Again!) – but DHS adds Important Footnote

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

June 7, 2017

Consistent with its past policy in which temporary means a series of rollovers that prolong temporary protected status (TPS) for foreign nationals years after the crisis back home has ended, TPS was extended, this time to Haitians, for an extra six months. Haitian TPS was first granted in 2011; Honduras and Nicaragua share the dubious record for longest “temporarily” in the U.S. – 18 years! Nationals from terrorist-sponsoring Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have also received TPS.

Davis-Oliver Act would restore credibility to TPS de facto amnesty.

In his statement that announced the extension that will begin on July 23 and end January 22, 2018, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that six months should allow Haitian TPS recipients “the time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States, and should also provide the Haitian government with the time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.”

Kelly added that since the 2010 Haitian earthquake, its economy has grown, displaced persons have returned home, and the Haitian government had personally assured him that it would welcome repatriated citizens. Like dozens of other unwieldly immigration programs and counterproductive visa allocations, TPS needs an overhaul.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) introduced the TPS Reform Act which proposed to shift the program’s authority from the Executive Branch and instead empower Congress to designate a nation’s eligibility. The proposed bill would have set “strict but reasonable maximum lengths for TPS duration.” In his press release, Rep. Brooks noted that under current law TPS is “de facto permanent.”

There’s hope that TPS will eventually be tightened up so that “temporary” means just that – nationals must go home once conditions warrant their return. The Davis-Oliver Act, currently under review in the House Judiciary Committee, would fulfill many of the objectives in Rep. Brooks’ proposed legislation.

Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to urge your representatives to support the Davis-Oliver Act. In addition to making important changes to TPS, H.R.2431 would, among other enforcement actions, withhold certain DOJ and DHS grants from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to honor ICE detainer requests, make multiple drunken driving offenders deportable, and enhance penalties for deported felons that return to the U.S.

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