Mayorkas Grants TPS to Rapidly Resettled Afghans
FAIR Take | March 2022
In an oddly-timed announcement, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This de facto amnesty comes about six months after America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan following the end of the 20-year War in Afghanistan.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that “TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.” Yet there already exists a visa for Afghans that assisted the U.S. military and our partners – the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV).
It appears that the Biden administration waited for six months to issue TPS so that they could allow as many Afghans in the country as possible, all while allaying national security concerns by claiming that most were SIV eligible interpreters. Reports indicate that there are about 76,000 Afghans in the U.S. who could benefit from TPS.
In a statement to the press, FAIR’s head of government relations and communications, RJ Hauman, noted that this recent use of TPS comes with some controversy. In his statement, Hauman said that “this designation takes TPS abuse to the next level – purposely increasing an eligible population and then issuing the designation around six months later. Does Congress even care about this unprecedented abuse of authority?” This raises an important point.
The timing on this TPS announcement is odd. Have conditions in Afghanistan changed since the Taliban takeover of the country in August? It does not appear that way. So why did Secretary Mayorkas wait until now to issue a TPS designation for Afghan nationals in the United States?
Congress must utilize its oversight authority to investigate this matter. In addition to reforming TPS overall, Congress has a duty to investigate what the thinking was behind the strange delay of this designation. Many of these people remain unvetted. If they applied for SIV and did not receive it, what are they still doing in the United States? Is TPS appropriate, or would it be more appropriate to repatriate them to a safe country in the Middle East that shares cultural, linguistic, and religious ties with Afghanistan? There are more questions than answers when it comes to the population of people we airlifted from Afghanistan in August.
Even worse, this begs the question: what illegal alien population won’t receive a TPS designation by the end of President Biden’s first term?