Trump Effectively Orders 200,000 People to Leave U.S.

[Content Note: Nativism; white supremacy; abuse.]

The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is an immigration statute established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, which grants safety to eligible nationals from countries designated to qualify by virtue of ongoing conflict, a natural and/or environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions.

In May, the Trump administration took its first swing at TPS, by extending the TPS for 60,000 Haitian immigrants, who came to the U.S. after the devastating 2010 earthquake, for only six months. In November, the Trump administration announced it was not renewing the TPS for those Haitians who arrived after a 2010 earthquake, and was further not renewing the TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans who had lived in the U.S. under the provision for nearly two decades. At that time, the administration made no announcement regarding the TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans, whose status was due to expire early this year.

Today, the Trump administration will reportedly announce that it will not extend their provisional residency. Nick Miroff at the Washington Post reports:
The Trump administration will announce Monday that it intends to cancel the provisional residency permits of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the country since at least 2001, leaving them vulnerable to deportation, according to multiple people on Capitol Hill who've been apprised of the plan.

The administration will notify the Salvadorans they have until Sept. 9, 2019 to leave the United States or find a new way to obtain legal residency, according to a copy of the announcement prepared by the Department of Homeland Security that will be published Monday morning.

The Salvadorans were granted what is known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, after a series of earthquakes devastated the country in 2001.

DHS is preparing to announce that Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has decided the conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since then, ending the original justification for the Salvadorans' deportation protection, these people said.
Despite the fact that the order tells the Salvadorans with provisional residencies they have a "choice" to leave "or find a new way to obtain legal residency," the Trump administration is clearly going to erect every possible barrier to obtaining legal residency in order to remain — which is a costly and time-consuming process even when the sitting president isn't hostile to immigrants. Thus, this announcement effectively orders 200,000 Salvadorans to leave the country.

Further, it has given them just eight months [sic; please see update at end of post] after living here for at least 17 years, to arrange to move their entire lives to El Salvador. It can take longer than eight months to sell a house, and it might be impossible to raise the funds for an extremely costly international move at all, no less without the proceeds from a property sale.

And that's just one example of the unfathomable impracticality of this expectation. That doesn't even begin to address the aggressive indecency of it.

Kevin Appleby of the New York-based Center for Migration Studies told the WaPo: "The fix has been in for these TPS decisions, regardless of the facts on the ground in these countries. The decision on El Salvador is particularly damaging. It not only will uproot families and children who have lived here for years, it also will further destabilize an already violent country. It is incredibly short-sighted and undermines our interest in a stable Central America."

Let me be blunt here: Donald Trump has just ordered that two hundred thousand U.S. residents get the fuck out of the country, with no regard for their families, for their communities, for their safety — and with no concern for what it says about this nation that we are willing to expel nearly a quarter of a million people just like that.

Trump has ordered 200,000 people to leave the U.S at once. That is extraordinary. It is horrifying. It is chilling to immigrant families — and it should disgust everyone else, given its evident nativist and white supremacist motivations.

And it will barely make a blip in the news. Which should shame us all.

UPDATE: The Trump administration has pushed back the deadline by one year. Which, to be clear, is still heinous. It's not at all clear that a yearlong extension will provide enough time for 200,000 people to have petitions for legal residency processed and/or to raise funds and make plans to leave the country. And it does absolutely nothing to address the horrendous rationale behind the decision.

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