Temporary Means Temporary

The Quote Below: More Misinformation from the Media

“There is no reason, aside from malice, for the Trump administration to end protection for immigrants from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Nepal or any of the other countries whose TPS status is nearing expiration.

“The TPS program began during the George W. Bush administration in 1990, and extensions have been routinely granted when conditions have not substantially improved in the subject countries. And in Haiti things have not substantially improved. . . .

“A series of federal lawsuits has put on hold the administration’s decision to allow Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to lapse for immigrants from six troubled countries, but nothing is yet decided. Protections for many of them are set to expire in July.

“Last month, the first of those lawsuits went to court, with attorneys for the plaintiffs arguing that TPS recipients had been denied an opportunity to challenge Trump’s ‘categorically defamatory assertions about all Haitians.’ The suit also contends, quite reasonably considering the president’s statements and tweets, that the administration’s decision to eject the immigrants is based on a ‘racially discriminatory attitude toward all brown and black people.’ “ – Haiti Is in Serious Trouble. Let Haitians with TPS Stay in the United States, Miami Herald Editorial Board, 2/25/19 [Link]

Fact Check on Quote: The purpose of TPS is to give refuge to foreigners in our country while their homelands are convulsed with natural disasters and other problems. The key word is “temporary.” After the problems subside, the foreigners are supposed to go home.

The Herald editorialists maintain that things have not improved in Haiti. It appears that the Trump Administration disagrees. Without a doubt Haiti is in serious trouble, but there is nothing new about that. From its very beginning that country has experienced nothing but problems. The key issue in this instance is whether the effects of the earthquake that struck Haiti almost ten years ago—prompting TPS for 46,000 Haitians–are still making the country much worse than it usually has been.

In any case, nearly ten years is long enough to allow recovery to take place, if recovery is going to happen at all. A decade or more isn’t temporary. It undermines our rule of law when we mislabel the intent of our laws. As one commentator noted, there is usually nothing so permanent than a temporary immigration program.

The Herald editorialists try to evade this point by pointing to alleged bias by President Trump. The lawsuit they endorse rests on the dangerous premise that discerning the emotions and motives of someone upholding a law is more significant than what the law itself actually says. Laws interpreted on the basis of mind-reading are scarcely laws at all.

President Trump did suggest that Haiti is a dysfunctional country, but a statement so obvious and true as that hardly qualifies as bias. The charge of racial discrimination is a shameless playing of the race card. Once again the law says “temporary,” and it applies equally to all creeds and colors.


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