Things That Matter

As The Trump Administration Guts Temporary Protected Status For Most Groups Why Is It Being Extended For Salvadorans?

One of the big headlines gracing our screens at the moment is the revelation that the US has agreed to extend TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, for Salvadorans. This is music to a lot of people’s ears – from lawyers, to activists, and of course, to the very people this law is about: Salvadorans who have emigrated to the US. But what exactly does this mean, you ask? Well, read on to find out.

People have been saying that this is an extension of an extension.

Which is a pretty fair assessment, even if it’s only half-true. Originally, TPS was due to expire in January 2020 – a deadline that was creeping up frighteningly quickly, considering we’ve only two months of the year left. The reason why the program was set to expire this coming January in the first place? Because the Trump administration had originally decided to strip pretty much everyone of their TPS protections, and it was only after federal courts stepped in that TPS was extended to January 2020.

This original extension was the result of a decision to ensure that the US legal system had time to follow due process before TPS was completely scrapped.

However, for the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans affected by this new decision, they now have an extra year of TPS – until January 2021 – before they risk deportation. The government has been careful not to dub this extra time as an “extension,” though, clarifying that the period is intended to give Salvadorans in the US time to sort out their affairs before ending the TPS provisions.

This new date places Salvadorans on an ever-shrinking list of people protected by the TPS program.

Credit: familyseparationawareness/ Instagram

However, it wasn’t always this way. The reason why the TPS became a thing in the first place was because Congress created a standardized system for granting temporary protections to people fleeing political and/or environmental catastrophes in their home country. This coincides with the US’ ratification of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, or, The Big Important International Agreement Signed By A Bunch of Countries Saying They’ll Take In Asylum Seekers. It was decided in 1992 that Salvadorans fit the profile for TPS after things got pretty messed up in El Salvador, what with all-mighty earthquakes and general political chaos.

But the TPS program these days is getting smaller and smaller.

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Anyone originally harking from Haiti, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen are set to see their TPS and/or DED, or Deferred Enforced Departure, expire between January and March 2020. Which, as we’ve already pointed out, is just around the corner. In fact, the only countries that have seen a reprieve, aside from El Salvador, are South Sudan and Venezuela. We’re sure we’re not the only ones thinking this: yikes.

This trouble with the TPS isn’t the first time Trump and his squad have attempted to root out and punish immigrants living in the US.

Credit: thetrumpphenomenon / Instagram

This has happened so many times before now, it’s almost hard to keep track of it all. We’ve seen Muslim bans, ICE raids, children separated from their parents, attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, overcrowded detention centers, and now this. It’s no wonder that the Trump administration has argued that natural disasters from years ago shouldn’t be used to substantiate petitions to stay in the US.

The thing is that these arguments ignore some pretty crucial reasons why these people should be allowed to stay in the US.

Credit: closethecampsdetroit / Instagram

Firstly, they’ve built a life in the US – whether it be careers, a home, family, or friends. Secondly, a lot of these places are still experiencing a lot of turmoil that would be plain traumatizing to return to. And thirdly, deporting an influx of people back to these places may actually create even more problems for those countries. They most likely won’t have the infrastructure, resources, or even economies to accept and support a huge amount of people. In fact, deportation on a mass scale may exacerbate the very issues that are driving people to cross the border into the US in the first place – and likely just continue a vicious cycle. 

Getting back to the original topic: while this non-extension gives a reprieve to those who clearly need it, moving the deadline just means that the end of the TPS program has become the problem for the America of the future to face. And though we don’t necessarily condone procrastination, there is something to be said about the fact that this new TPS expiry date falls after the 2020 Presidential elections. And who knows what the US President of 2021 will think of the TPS system?

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Things That Matter

Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

Things That Matter

President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

President Joe Biden promised that he would introduce legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. The president has followed through with the promise and all eyes are on the government as millions wait to see what happens next.

President Joe Biden has been busy the first couple of weeks of his presidency.

President Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship that millions of people in the U.S. have been asking for. There are around 11 million people who are undocumented in the U.S. The pathway to citizenship will take time, according to the legislation, but some people will have time shaved off of their pathway, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and farm workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is designed to change the immigration system that has created a backlog of immigration cases. There are multiple steps in the proposed legislation starting with creating a pathway to citizenship. Those who would benefit from the bill are people who are physically in the U.S. by January 2, 2021.

First, the bill allows for people to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, and if the person passes a criminal and national security background check, they can apply for a green card. Three years after that, people who pass further background checks and demonstrate a knowledge of English and civics can apply for citizenship.

A line in the bill aims to help people deported during the previous administration.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017, who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes,” reads the proposed legislation.

The bill also wants to change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in immigration laws to embrace the country’s stance as a country of immigrants.

The legislation has been introduced and now immigration activists are waiting to see it happen.

The legislation tackles several issues that have plagued the immigration system in the U.S. The bill proposes increasing visa limits for certain countries, keeping families together, removing discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and so many other initiatives to start reforming the immigration system.

President Biden has been offering executive orders that are in the same vein as the bill. Many have aimed as fixing issues that were created by the previous administration and the president is not hiding from it.

“There’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders I’ve signed. I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office while signing executive orders. “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last president of the United States issued executive orders I thought were counterproductive to our national security, counterproductive to who we are as a country. Particularly in the area of immigration.”

The undocumented population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and has declined since then. There are at least 4.4 million people in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

READ: President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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