Josh Gerstein writing at Politico nails it when discussing our ludicrously-named backdoor immigration program—Temporary Protected Status.
Here is Gerstein’s most “undercovered” story of the week! (Emphasis mine):
My candidate for undercovered news story of the week: the extension of TPS for immigrants potentially subject to deportation to Honduras or Nicaragua.
What’s TPS? Unheard of in many communities, it stands for Temporary Protected Status and is well known in places with substantial populations of immigrants from Central America.
The provision allows the federal government to defer deportations, nominally temporarily, to countries where a problem such as natural disaster or unrest could put added stress on a country or make it unsafe for those abroad to return. Perhaps more importantly than halting deportations, it allows immigrants in the U.S. illegally from those countries to receive authorization to work here. [They can work, but there is no path to citizenship (yet!)—ed]
On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that she was extending the legal status of immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua for another 18 months. The action was purportedly taken to allow the countries more time to recover from a hurricane. If you’re having trouble remembering a huge hurricane that hit the region recently, it’s not you. The disaster which led to the deportation halt, Hurricane Mitch, took place in the fall of 1998—more than 14 years ago.
Napolitano’s designations for Honduras and Nicaragua are the eleventh extensions of the original grants of TPS. With the passage of time, the findings in the extensions become more and more implausible, as does the notion that there is anything temporary about the program and that the conditions in those countries today are fairly traceable to the 1998 hurricane. [Technically to receive TPS status the illegal alien had to be in the US before the crisis occurred, but this is just more of the winking and nodding that surely goes on with this program.–ed]
The truth is it has become politically unthinkable to end the TPS designations, especially given how long they’ve been in place. The policies now stretch through three presidential administrations, two Democratic and one Republican [Bush of course!—ed]
In many ways, the extensions are a symptom of the nation’s broken immigration system. About 64,000 Hondurans and 3,000 Nicaraguans are affected by the programs. Another TPS for El Salvador based on earthquakes in 2001 affects even more people: 212,000, making it a major source of remittances* for that country.
They are all waiting now for the big break—amnesty. Yippee! New Democrat voters!