Because of the Ebola breakout in Africa, the administration, on November 19, issued a new designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of the three affected countries – Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone – who are in the United States and want to avoid returning home.
The TPS is for a period of 18 months and may be renewed. This new use of TPS, and its use in general, is misguided and the law that allows it should be withdrawn.
In practice, TPS really only benefits nationals of designated countries who are illegally in the United States. Those who are in the country legally with a visa can request an extension of the visa so as not to become an illegal resident. Illegal residents do not have legal temporary status that they can renew, so it is they who benefit. The TPS designation allows the illegal aliens to obtain a Social Security card and to receive a permit to work legally. This is, therefore, a form of amnesty, i.e., giving the alien what he or she was seeking by entering the country illegally or by overstaying a visa.
The reason for eliminating TPS from statute is that successive administrations have demonstrated a lack of will to let the TPS designation lapse when foreign governments have asked for it to be extended. Thus, at the present time, there are thousands of Central Americans in the United States with TPS protection against deportation who first obtained that status in December 1998.
Giving temporary legal status to illegal residents makes no sense. They are not temporary residents who intend to return to their home country as soon as conditions allow it, which is the conceptual framework for the TPS policy.
As a result of the TPS policy that has given protection against deportation to thousands of Central Americans, the administration has just announced a policy of allowing the children of those aliens left behind in Central America to now come as refugees to join their parents. It would have been more proper under our immigration law for the administration to terminate the TPS status and send the parents back to their home countries to care for their children there.