TPS a Windfall for America? Don’t Count On It
The Biden administration’s extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to some 472,000 Venezuelan migrants ushers in “the possibility of notable economic gains for U.S. communities.” Or so say open-borders advocates at the American Immigration Council (AIC). But will it?
Venezuela’s “re-designation” on the TPS list certainly does one thing: It substantially increases the number of illegal aliens eligible for TPS benefits and protection from deportation.
Immigration enthusiasts unconcerned about the legal basis for continued expansion of this not-so-temporary program (many TPS holders have been in this country for decades) have ginned up statistics claiming it is a financial boon for America.
“In 2021, TPS holders contributed more than $2.2 billion in taxes. They also held $8 billion in spending power, which supports countless U.S. businesses when spent on items like groceries, haircuts or rent,” AIC asserts.
A like-minded group, the National TPS Alliance, offers somewhat different figures. It estimates that TPS holders pay $4.6 billion in taxes annually, and vaguely pegs their “impact” on the U.S. Gross Domestic Product at $35.2 billion.
Whether these calculations are anywhere close to accurate, they focus on only one side of the financial ledger. They neglect to account for huge social costs, such as public education, health care and the like, or that per capita GDP is a far more relevant factor than aggregate GDP.
AIC & Co. also ignore the billions of U.S. dollars that migrants from TPS countries send back to their homelands in the form of remittances.
According to a 2021 report (the latest available), 12 TPS nations received $17,234,920,000 in remittances from the United States. That total has surely increased with the flow of illegal immigration under President Joe Biden.
But, wait, there’s more. Four TPS countries – Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan and Yemen – were not included in the tally or, improbably, showed zero remittances for the year.
Separate reports listed remittances to Venezuela at $4.2 billion and $1.5 billion going to Syria. (Caveat: Those remittances, although stated in U.S. dollars, came from across the globe, with the United States likely the single biggest source for Venezuela.)
Add it all up and we’re talking about real money coming OUT of American communities — and not staying in this country. It’s hard to see how extracting billions of dollars from the U.S. annually constitutes a “notable economic gain” for America.
Obviously, not every outbound dollar is disbursed by TPS holders. But as TPS persists and expands, persons with that status will be bigger players in the remittance field.
A final note: When FAIR calculates local, state and federal costs associated with illegal immigration, the growing ranks of TPS holders are included in the annual $163 billion total because they officially remain without legal status.
Turns out that TPS isn’t the unmitigated financial windfall its supporters claim. It may be a nice slice of American pie for the 16 TPS countries, but it’s another losing proposition for Americans.