Things That Matter

As Trump Moves To Strip TPS From Nearly Everybody, The Administration Is Thinking Of Extending It To Venezuelans

The headline gives it away: it’s legit, Trump and his band of merry men are considering taking steps to enact a TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, specifically for Venezuelans in the US. But what does this mean, exactly? Don’t worry, because we’ve saved you the hard work of doing research on the topic – read on to find out all about it.

Why the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

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Instituting a TPS for the Venezuelan population in the US would essentially protect them from being deported. While at this stage the details are sketchy, it seems that the plan would be to not only allow Venezuelans to continue living in the US, but also have work permits, too. And yes, it would also mean that these same Venezuelans, with their newfound legal status, wouldn’t have to watch out for persecution from ICE officers anymore.

The primary reason the White House is seeking to provide legal protections for Venezuelans is due to the current political environment in Venezuela.

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While it’s a complicated situation, the short story is that Venezuela’s current President, Nicolás Maduro, has been accused of running fraudulent elections by his opposition. This has escalated into military struggles – which, alongside power cuts, and food and medicine shortages, has resulted in an estimated four million Venezuelans leaving the country. As a result, Venezuelan migrants flocked to the US, since it’s one of the closest stable countries to Venezuela. However, that doesn’t mean that all Venezuelan migrants have got current paperwork for them to live and work in the US. Establishing a TPS for these Venezuelans would ensure that they’re rightfully recognized as asylum seekers, and give them the legal status to remain and work in the US.

Why it’s hella weird that the White House is considering a TPS for Venezuelans.

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Don’t get us wrong – it’s great that, for once, the Trump administration is considering ways to protect people who are legitimately seeking asylum. But, it’s also weird as heck that it is considering ways of instituting a TPS. Remember, this is the same administration that gave us the infamous Muslim ban, overcrowded detention centers in El Paso, and also jeopardized the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program. Trump and friends don’t really have a great record when it comes to embracing immigration.

The other thing to consider is that the TPS they’re proposing would only be available for asylum seekers coming from Venezuela.

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People from other Latin American countries aren’t in luck, this time around. Some have speculated that the reason for this is because while Trump and his team consider Venezuelans to be refugees fleeing danger, they see Hispanics from the rest of Latin America as job seekers, looking to leech off of America’s success.

Another theory that’s been floated is that Trump is actually thinking ahead to 2020: Florida, as a key battleground state, is home to a considerable Venezuelan community. Offering TPS to friends and families in those neighborhoods could possibly be the olive branch Trump needs to secure deciding votes in the state. So, for those cynics out there, maybe it’s not so weird that Donald has has a change of heart when it comes to some immigrants.

Why the White House considering a TPS for Venezuelans isn’t a permanent solution.

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Well, firstly, it’s important to remember that TPS stands for Temporary Protection Status – with emphasis on the temporary. The question remains as to what would constitute grounds for withdrawing such protection: would Maduro have to step down? Would Venezuela’s political system need to be overhauled? Or would Venezuela have to reach a certain GDP threshold before the US considered it stable enough for Venezuelans to return? And, what about potential pathways to gaining full, legitimate US citizenship from the TPS? The terms of the TPS are yet to be fully explored.

Another, secondary, thing to think about is the fact that not all Republicans are on board with the TPS.

It’s entirely possible that party politics may stand in the way of successfully implementing a magnanimous TPS program.

At the end of the day, while it’s great to see the Trump administration reconsidering its harsh stance on immigration and asylum seekers, at the same time, if they’re planning to institute policy to accommodate for refugees, then they need to plan for the long term. The reality is that if people are being settled in the US under a TPS to escape the hardships and traumas of their native countries, they are inevitably going to build a life, make friends and potentially create a family, under the auspices of a temporary program. Removing them from that life would further traumatize these people and also damage the community. Let’s hope that the current administration keeps this in mind when they’re debating the TPS. After all, these are human lives they are talking about.

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Supreme Court Appears To Look For Ways To Wait Out Trump’s Term Before Ruling On Census Case

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Supreme Court Appears To Look For Ways To Wait Out Trump’s Term Before Ruling On Census Case

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The drama over the 2020 Census just won’t stop. It seems that we’re caught up in a never ending (though all important) saga over the results from this year’s census count – one that could have a major impact on everything from congressional representation to federal funding.

The Trump Administration, in its conintued assault on the migrant community, has asked the Supreme Court for permission to exclude all undocumented residents from being counted – even though that has never happened in the country’s 244 year history.

During this week’s arguments over the case, the court’s justices all seemed to cast doubt on Trump’s plan but not necessarily for the same reasons. Though some immigration advocated worry that the Supreme Court is still set to grant the outgoing Donald Trump a lame duck victory that could cause major headaches for a President Biden.

The Supreme Court seemed skeptical of Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from census.

On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments over Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented residents from the census count. But during an audio-only oral argument session that stretched to more than an hour and a half, there appeared to be few, if any, takers on the high court for Trump’s effort to leave all unlawful immigrants out of the critical count.

Even many of the court’s most conservative justices – including those Trump named to the court – seemed highly skeptical of the constitutionality of the president’s move, but they also expressed misgivings about ruling on that issue now when thorny questions about smaller groups of undocumented migrants could be just weeks away.

The court’s conservatives, who hold a 6-3 majority, signaled such a ruling might be premature based on the administration’s admission that it does not yet know how or if it will be able to implement the proposal.

Several of the justices seemed to imply that rushing a decision through would be a major mistake.

Even Trump’s own Census Bureau admitted that it has no idea yet how many people would be excluded or when it will have the answer. The justices appeared to be reluctant to act immediately to block the plan based on that admission alone.

“Career experts at the Census Bureau confirmed with me that they still don’t know even roughly how many illegal aliens they will be able to identify, let alone how their number and geographic concentration may affect apportionment,” said acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, the government’s chief lawyer.

Near the outset of Monday’s session, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be urging some delay, despite the fact that the court urgently accelerated arguments in the case at the request of the Trump administration.

“What is the problem with post-apportionment litigation?” Roberts asked. “We don’t know what the secretary is going to do. We don’t know what the president is going to do. We don’t know how many aliens will be excluded. We don’t know what the effect of that will be on apportionment. All these questions would be resolved if we wait until the apportionment takes place.”

Much of the argument session turned on technical procedural questions about whether the suit is premature, since the Census Bureau hasn’t yet provided Trump with its report. Some justices also speculated that the number of foreigners the Census Bureau ultimately identifies as potentially subject to exclusion could wind up being so small that it wouldn’t have much impact on the apportionment of House seats among the states.

“I find the posture of this case quite frustrating,” Justice Samuel Alito said. “It could be we are dealing with a possibility that is quite important. It could be that this is much ado about very little.”

A ruling in Trump’s favor on this case would have serious implications for Democratic-leaning states.

Lawyers for the states that oppose the plan and groups affected by it told the justices that it would shift money and political power away from states with large immigrant populations and that it would violate the Constitution and federal law.

The Constitution requires a census every 10 years, and the results determine how many members of Congress each state gets in the House of Representatives. The data are also used to calculate local governments’ share of $1.5 trillion under many federal programs.

California, Florida and Texas would each lose one seat in the House, and Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each keep a seat they would otherwise lose to population shifts, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Other predictions show Arizona losing a seat, too, and Montana gaining one.

The states would lose equal numbers of Electoral College votes, which are based on the size of their House delegations.

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The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

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The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

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In addition to telling his own team to have zero contact with the President-Elect’s transition team, Trump is now attempting to rush through more dangerous immigration policies.

Although most officials agree that there are few major changes the administration can achieve in two months, they admit that Trump could still wreak havoc on an incoming administration’s plans. From solidifying ‘safe third country’ agreements to finally enacting their rule against international students, there is still a lot of damage the Trump administration can impart on the migrant community.

Trump is rushing to put into place last minute changes to immigration policy.

With President-Elect Biden’s inauguration less than two months away, there is added urgency with the Trump Administration to ram through any last-minute rules that would further limit immigration.

The last minute push comes as little surprise as it’s very much inline with a years-long effort to expand policies that further limit immigrant’s rights – and also a concession that a new administration is incoming.

Like so many other immigration reforms, it’s believed that Trump’s longtime advisor Stephen Miller is behind the push. As lead immigration adviser and the architect of his hard-line immigration agenda, Miller is looking for any opportunity to tighten immigration rules and curtail the flow of migration to the United States.

Immigrant advocates have slammed Miller and the administration for their actions, arguing that the changes have betrayed the country’s posture of welcoming immigrants. 

Despite Trump’s denial, some see the last minute rush as a tacit admission that Biden won the election.

Although these last minute pushes are the same thing that happens in the twilight of every outgoing administration, this one is peculiar because Trump himself has conceded to admit he’s leaving office come January.

However, every administration wants to finish what they started and give it as much staying power as they possibly can.

It’s common for administrations to try to get pending items across the finish line before a transfer of power, but such moves have the potential of setting up more hurdles for Biden, who’s pledged to roll back Trump immigration policies, many of which have occurred through regulations that can be more arduous to reverse.

Though even immigration hawks admit that there is little that can really be accomplished within the next two months.

Some on the right who have failed Trump’s dangerous immigration policies say that there is always going to be a higher level of intensity when you’re running on borrowed time. They also admit that they have, in fact, been working with the Trump Administration on last minute changes. Chris Chmielenski, deputy director at NumbersUSA, told CNN that, “There has been constant communication between us and administration officials on what we still want done.”

“People are looking for stuff to do. People are asking, is there anything you think we could make progress on, anything you think needs to be fixed,” he said. “It’s nothing that’s going to make a difference within two months. People want to know if there are policy changes that can be made, but I think the general view is there is not a lot that can be done.”

The one area where Trump could make changes it by creating more so-called “safe third country” agreements.

Credit: Johan ORDONEZ / Getty Images

Although it’s unlikely the administration will be able to enact any major legislation, the president is attempting to further enact existing policies. One area where Trump’s team is looking to expand policy is in so-called ‘safe third country’ agreements.

The agreements — initiated last year — marked a significant shift in US asylum policy as migrants who may have legitimate claims for asylum are sent to other countries to make their cases. The U.S. already has entered into agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, but only the agreement with Guatemala was actually up and running.

And despite the region being devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, they still want to see the agreements enacted.

There has also been a major push to finalize a rule that takes aim at international students, potentially limiting the length of time students and others can remain in the United States. In September, DHS proposed changes to visas for students, exchange visitors and foreign media. Since then, a “substantial amount of resources” have been put into finalizing the regulation, a DHS official told CNN, pointing out that there has been “tremendous opposition” to the rule.

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