Should Illegal Aliens Receive Temporary Protected Status?

The Trump administration has served notice on Haitians who have received the benefit of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that they should be preparing to return to Haiti. They have had TPS status since 2010 when a major hurricane caused significant destruction on the country. Since then, the country has received substantial aid from the United States and other countries. The emergency conditions have long passed. So, if the “T” is TPS is meaningful, the temporary protection from deportation is no longer appropriate.

But, was TPS ever appropriate for some of the beneficiaries? The genesis of TPS was an effort to craft an immigration status for foreigners in the United States when civil unrest or natural disaster made it temporarily dangerous for foreigners to return to their homes. That made sense for persons who wanted to return but were temporarily deterred from doing so because of conditions in their home country. Those foreigners could be here as students or on a business trip or even as tourists, for example. And, it seemed likely that they would return home on their own as soon as conditions allowed. But, if they were in the country illegally, they presumably had no intention of traveling home as soon as conditions stabilized, so TPS made no sense for them. Nevertheless, they were included in the program.

Part of the TPS benefit is the receipt of a Social Security number, allowing legal employment. For illegal residents who were already working with fake ID, this was a dream come true. It has created a situation in which some TPS beneficiaries, such as those from Central America, who have been covered by TPS status for 16 to 18 years, have established eligibility for Social Security retirement benefits that they would not have qualified for if they had not received the TPS benefit.

The inappropriate conferral of TPS benefits for the Haitians and Central Americans and others illegally residing here has remained out of the limelight because there has been little pressure to cancel or limit it. Endless extensions of TPS also developed a natural constituency pushing for its repeated renewal, including pressure from the countries that would have to admit their nationals if they were forced to return home.

With the spotlight now on the TPS issue because of the impending end of that status for the Haitians, it can be hoped that the public, the administration, and Congress will recognize the absurdity of giving legal work rights to persons living here illegally.

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar
    11th Gen American on

    The ONLY illegal aliens in US who should be granted work permits are those who work in agriculture! Without them, the cost of good in US would skyrocket! The irony is, despite 30-50 million illegals occupying our country illegally, the cost of food has doubled in past two years! I thus don’t know if granting work visas to illegal agricultural workers will help or harm our economy further. Whatever is done, the American people cannot be expected to tolerate forking out $120 BILLION per year, and having the quality of education OUR children receive in public schools continue to deteriorate despite spending $10,000 per year per student (on average)! In many school districts across this country, illegals and non-English speaking immigrants outnumber American-born children, and that’s a recipe for national social destruction!

  2. avatar
    George Fuller on

    TPS is nothing more than backdoor immigration. Check 200K El Salvadorans brought here over a decade ago and are still here……….the program is all BS…..

  3. avatar

    If someone initially breaks any law they shouldn’t be given any temporary status except immediate deportation

    • avatar

      Peter these people contribute to our country more than you do…you go back where u came from ….

        • avatar

          Actually for a mentally retarded Flintstones like you…..whose IQ is worse than that of an illegal
          ,,,you should know by now people do have the same names…idiot…..hahahahaha!!!

  4. avatar

    I know someone who was born in Germany of an American serviceman and German mother. They all moved here when she was small and she has lived here ever since. The mother eventually returned to Germany where her daughter visits her a couple times a year. She was telling me that Europeans think we are crazy for electing Trump.

    But crazy is supporting policies that only end up hurting you. Can anyone say that Germany is better off for all the “refugees” that Merkel rolled out the red carpet for? Europe for the most part insists that allowing in millions upon millions of people who despise their liberal thinking and policies is a good thing. Women are accosted on the street and in public gatherings and the so called “feminists” {like Hillary} won’t say a word in protest. People are mowed down in the streets with vehicles and politicians say just get used to it because it’s inevitable.

    The Vikings had people fleeing in terror in the past when their sails appeared in the distance. Now the Swedes scrape and bow to a bunch of people with a 15th century mindset. A lot of the media makes an issue of pointing out when an Islamic terrorist, here or abroad, is “native born”, as if that does not count as Islamic terrorism. What it suggests is that these people have not and will not assimilate. When one of the shooters who killed 150 people at a concert in Paris fled to Belgium, the police there admitted that it took them many weeks to catch him because the local community hid him.

    • avatar

      Not true you are simply not well versed and next to a German basically naive ….,,,,,,,regarding Merkel’s statement and your concept of Europe,,,,,,you are simply not informed and educated.

      • avatar

        I’m informed enough to know that Merkel told all the refugees that they would be “welcome” to come to Germany without limit and then when they were coming by the tens of thousands per day she decided that every other European country had to “share the burden”. But the other countries never agreed to that.

        That’s like when the Pope insists that Western countries have to take in all the poor uneducated economic immigrants with large families who want to come here from third world Catholic countries. But we did not promote the idea that birth control is a sin. That was the Church. Don’t sign us up for your idiocy. A hundred years ago the Catholic Philippines had 10 million people and now they have over 100 million crammed into those relatively small islands. If they want to follow the Pope they can go ahead. Don’t insist you have some right to come here because you have destroyed your country through over population.

        • avatar

          Leland your are the typical ignorant n naive to our reality….Merkek comes from the WWII era where I any in I need will be heloed… they know
          I they made a mistake but you are a Flintstones!!!! N now that u mentioned the Pope it shows your ignorance but no worries the Pope will bless…you . If you show no decency n respect for what others believe your worth nothing…..better you keep your mouth shut…..

        • avatar

          Leland look what I found about you in

          John 17 hours ago
          This has got to be the worst president in modern day history! People who voted for this guy should be barred from voting in the next election, based on poor judgment and low IQ

          hahahahaha!!!!…he is right!!!hahahaha!!!

    • avatar

      Obviously if you were to read the article you would see they are getting it. Do you care to share any info you have that they are not?