Temporary Actually Does Mean “Not Permanent”
The Los Angeles Times recently published two op-ed pieces that advance the same tired arguments that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was never really temporary.One writer asserts that “temporary” is an imprecise term and the plight of Salvadoran TPS-holders provides, “an excellent opportunity to revise the laws that have created our current chaotic [immigration] mess.” The other claims that, “it is unfair to retroactively impose “temporariness” on people who have been permitted to remain in the U.S. with documentation for 17 years.”First off, temporary is one of the least vague terms in the English language. Black’s Law Dictionary defines it succinctly as, “That which is to last for a limited time only, as distinguished from that which is perpetual, or indefinite, in its duration. The opposite of permanent.”The problem with TPS arises not from any ambiguity in the authorizing statue. Any confusion is the direct result of successive presidents refusing to tell those who received temporary refuge from the United States that it is time to go home. The fact is, most administrations believed that it would “look bad” to send TPS recipients back to their countries of origin.They were mistaken. What looks bad to the American public is putting the interests of foreigners before those of U.S. citizens. Middle America sees TPS as another immigration bait-and-switch and it wants to see our government sprout some backbone when it comes to maintaining the integrity of our borders. Voters elected Donald Trump largely because he promised to enforce our immigration laws, as writtenOur “current chaotic immigration mess” stems from the tendency to use immigration enforcement as tool for garnering political favor – instead of recognizing it as an expression of the political will of the American people. The solution isn’t a revision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Rather, the answer lies in using existing authorities to clean up the mess. While that may be obvious to most Americans, it apparently hadn’t occurred to any politician prior to Donald Trump.Finally, claims that it is unfair to cancel TPS after so long are as silly as they are inaccurate. These assertions rest on the argument that as time passes, foreigners “develop ties” to the United States and those ties give them a legally protected claim to remain in the United States. That’s bunk. If your neighbor borrows your new car and refuses to give it back because he has grown very attached to it, you don’t simply let him keep it. You report him to the police and call him what he is, a thief. The American public understands this intuitively, even though politicians don’t.If elected leaders won’t start listening to their voting constituents on immigration issues, they’re going to get a lesson on just how temporary political careers can be. And the electorate will send them back to their home states without any regard for the ties they may have developed to Washington, D.C.
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