Menendez: ‘Temporary refugees’ should have a path to citizenship

Yes, that is from the beleaguered New Jersey Senator, Robert  Menendez now facing corruption charges.  Could that Gang of Eight soon become the Gang of Seven?

Democrat Senator Robert Menendez, member of the Gang of Eight, under fire in NJ. Photo: Star Ledger

The story about immigrants with Temporary Protected Status wanting to become citizens (because honestly they are already permanent!) needs some clarification before you read it.

A migrant with TPS status can do anything a legal American citizen can do except vote.

Those with TPS status (El Salvador leads the pack) first got into the US illegally—they were first illegal aliens!   Then as a result of something going on in their home country—a civil war, a big storm, an earthquake—the benevolent US crafted this program so that they wouldn’t be immediately returned to a country that was struggling to recover at that moment.

We understood that at some point they would go home!  That is not to be, every year one or or the other of the eight nationalities gets an extension and this has gone on for decades.   (You can see the eight favored groups, here).  We recently added Syrians to TPS, but heck, why is Somalia still on there when we are told it’s safe to go home?

Remittances are a driving force behind keeping this program going as we knew, but was brought home recently with comments from Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez here at my other blog.   American money sent abroad props up governments.

And, by the way, CASA de Maryland was born out of the so-called ‘sanctuary movement’ when Quakers (among other “religious” people) broke the law by bringing Salvadorans across the border in the early 1980’s here (scroll down to second half of the post, links to Betty “rainbow” Hoover no longer work).

With that background, here then is the story from ABC yesterday (emphasis mine):

 An immigration reform bill being drafted in the Senate may offer an expedited path to citizenship to nearly 300,000 people who are currently in the U.S. under a temporary program designed to protect people who face physical danger in their own country.   [Faced physical danger maybe in the past—ed]

The program in question is called Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and it allows people to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation if they follow the law. But the status offers no formal pathway to citizenship, and some immigrants have been here for decades without being able to apply for a green card.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a member of a bipartisan group working on a Senate immigration bill, told the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión on Tuesday that the details still weren’t finalized, but that such a pathway should be considered as part of reform.

“I think that it’s expected that these people, that have been here under a legal avenue, should have some possibility to change their status in a quicker manner,” Menendez said. “[We] haven’t reach a final agreement in respect to that.”

The program, which was part of a large-scale immigration law passed in 1990, gives certain immigrants who are already in the U.S. a way to remain in the country if they face imminent dangers in their home country, such as a civil war or a natural disaster. Temporary Protected Status was born because existing refugee and asylum programs weren’t adequately addressing the needs of immigrants fleeing countries like El Salvador, which was enmeshed in civil war in the 1980s and early ’90s, according to Anwen Hughes, senior counsel at Human Rights First, a nonpartisan group that works on immigration issues. Two-thirds of people living in the country under TPS are Salvadorean.


Some conservative critics have said that the program is problematic because it isn’t actually temporary. Salvadorans, for example, were re-authorized for TPS after a series of earthquakes in 2001, and have been eligible for the status ever since. At this point, many Salvadorans with TPS have established roots in the U.S., so if that status was suddenly revoked, it could mean expelling residents who have been living and working in the country for decades.

Type ‘temporary protected status’ into our search function to learn more about this racket.

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