Dear Liberals: What Part of ‘Temporary’ Protected Status Don’t You Understand?

Brittany M. Hughes | January 8, 2018
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“Temporary (ˈtempəˌrerē/), adjective: lasting for only a limited period of time; not permanent.”

At least, that’s the definition of the word “temporary,” according to Webster’s dictionary. It's a common term, really. If you’ve got a temporary license, that means it's good until a certain date. If you're experiencing temporary side effects from a new medication, it means they’ll eventually go away.

Temporary: not lasting forever. Finite.

But for some reason, there seems to be a pretty significant misunderstanding of this term when it comes to immigration. That’s probably because for the left, the word “temporary” adopts a new meaning when it comes to foreign alien protections.

Temporary: permanent, if it's politically convenient.

Here's an example: the Trump administration announced Monday its intention to end Temporary Protection Status for certain aliens from El Salvador who’ve for the last two decades enjoyed amnesty from deportation.

For those unfamiliar with the program, TPS status is a federal designation that's applied to natives of certain countries on a case-by-case, limited-time basis. Here’s a good example: let’s say Maria showed up to the United States on a two-year work visa. While she was here working at the Ramada, a hurricane hit her home country of Honduras and wiped out her entire community, and her home along with it. The federal government may then declare Hondurans like Maria, who were living in the United States at the time of the hurricane,  eligible for TPS, allowing them to stay here rather than return to their now-wrecked home country without a place to live. It's a program is designed to give nations torn apart by natural disaster or war the time to rebuild before we send their displaced residents back home.

Thus, why it’s called Temporary Protected Status. And it's a voluntarily thing we offer because, contrary to the rest of the world's opinion, we aren't total jerks who hate humanity. Now, if Maria doesn't like the terms of the agreement, she can reject the offer, go home, and rebuild.

El Salvador, for instance, has been a TPS-designated country since 2001, when a series of earthquakes rocked the Central American nation and wreaked havoc on the country’s infrastructure. Since that time, more than 260,000 Salvadorans – both legal and illegal – have enjoyed temporary reprieve from deportation under the program.

Now, nearly two decades later, it’s time to go home.

Of course, critics of Trump’s move argue that many Salvadorans who’ve been under TPS protection since 2001 have by now established homes, families and careers in the United States. Some have had U.S. born children or grandchildren during that time. Others have bought homes, built up retirement savings, and become active members of their community. (All complaints that argue just as much in favor of ending TPS status earlier rather than later as they do for making the program permanent.)

To those critics, here’s the simple truth: the program is called “temporary” for a reason. Anyone who applies for TPS status does so with the foreknowledge that at some point, the clock runs out. Getting upset about it makes about as much sense as signing an apartment rental agreement and then getting bent out of shape when the lease ends. 

But here's the good news for Salvadoran nationals, a detail often ignored by the anti-Trump, pro-illegal left: ending TPS doesn’t necessary mean that those who’ve enjoyed it now have to go home. In fact, many TPS recipients can instead apply for legal residency and, later, even citizenship. In fact, the Trump administration’s new policy doesn’t kick in until September of next year – giving Salvadorans nearly two years to apply for legal status before the program ends. Of course, if you don't qualify for legal status because you've racked up 47 arrests and a heroin problem since you've been here, well, that's on you.

Of course, that little tidbit didn’t stop the New York Times from screaming: Trump Administration Says That Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans Must Leave!”

No, they didn’t. But let’s not be bothered with the truth.

The Washington Post took another approach: “Salvadorans fear TPS decision will be a huge economic blow to their country!”

Because, of course, it’s America’s fault if El Salvador hasn’t gotten their ducks in a row after 18 years.

What this really boils down to is a simple fact of life, and one with which the left seems to struggle mightily: the notion of consequences. If you apply for the benefits of a temporary program, you accept from the get-go that said program may eventually end. Sort of like if you come across the border illegally knowing that you’re violating the law, you’re accepting that getting caught may result in your getting the boot. This isn’t a difficult or illogical concept – and it's one many people are all too happy to live with until the bill comes due.

When it all boils down, it's just a simple matter of accepting consequences. And that’s usually the left’s real problem.

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