Center for American Progress’s Case for Permanent Protected Status

(But Only For People Who Don’t Have Calculators)

While everyone is talking about the impending termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and what will become of the 690,000 illegal aliens who currently enjoy protection under the program, there is another group of people whose status in the United States hangs in the balance. In the next few months a decision will be made about some 300,000 people from Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras who have been living in the United States (some for nearly 20 years) under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These three nationality groups comprise about 90 percent of current TPS beneficiaries.

According to a hair-on-fire report by the Center for American Progress (CAP), revoking TPS for these foreign nationals, whose countries were struck by natural disasters (as long ago as 1998), would amount to shooting ourselves in the foot. Our economy would suffer a serious blow if we suddenly remembered that the T in TPS stands for temporary.

According to CAP the consequence of sending all these folks home would result in a loss of $164 billion in GDP over the next decade. For those who don’t have a calculator or never learned how to divide by ten, that works out to $16.4 billion a year, or less than 1/100th of 1 percent of our current $18.57 trillion GDP.

But the dire consequences of ending TPS don’t stop there. CAP warns that ending TPS would be a gut punch to the Social Security Trust Fund (OASDI), resulting in a loss of $6.9 billion in contributions over the next decade. Again, for the benefit of those without calculators or the ability to divide by ten, that’s $690 million per year. In FY 2015, the OASDI collected about $884 billion in payroll taxes and interest. Upon running the long division, the self-inflicted wound turns out to be a paper cut – again, less than 1/100th of 1 percent of OASDI’s revenue stream.

Let’s not even consider the fact that the infinitesimally small losses to the economy and Social Security that CAP projects would probably not even be incurred at all. The loss of a few hundred thousand TPS workers and taxpayers could, and almost certainly would, be compensated for by other workers who would fill the jobs they vacate.

What we need to remember is that TPS was never intended to be a windfall for our economy or the Social Security Trust Fund (and, as CAP’s own numbers show, it certainly hasn’t). It was created as a humanitarian program to allow people whose homelands were struck by an unexpected natural or manmade disaster the ability to remain here temporarily until the immediate effects of the triggering event had passed. We have fulfilled our humanitarian gesture to citizens of these countries – and then some – and it’s time to rescind their TPS status, even if it actually does cost us 1/100th of 1 percent of our GDP.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    Once more, bringing to live in our country because some portion of their country suffered a natural disaster is the height of stupidity. In such examples, any humanitarian acts of our should involve sending in good, water, etc, and perhaps, temporary assistance from first responder types such as doctors, nurses, etc. Why bring them here to add more financial burdens to American taxpayers, permanently since it seems they never leave? Of course they don’t leave and our government doesn’t ever tell them to leave for such reasons as: 1. The government gets them here & gives no more thought to them. 2. The government makes no effort to keep track of them. The truth is our government has nothing but a guesstimate of how many such people are in our country just as they can only guess at the number of foreign illegals here. A nation that chooses to operate this way year after year is choosing to relinquish its identity, democracy, culture and its very foundations.

  2. avatar

    And none of the calculations by the other side ever ever factor in that many low skilled jobs, and most of these people are low skilled, will be lost to automation over the next couple decades. It’s already happening. Go to many stores now like Wal Mart or Home Depot and half of the people are going thru self checkout. One clerk watches over four or more registers. Nor do they calculate how many of them, and it’s likely a high percentage, will be collecting the earned income tax credit for decades. And that is not a deduction, it’s a credit. Meaning a check from the IRS of over five thousand dollars even if you don’t pay a penny of income tax.

      • avatar

        If you bothered to read the article you would see it’s not these people. Their contributions are so small as to be insignificant. Who.s going to pay the taxes to give them a check for five thousand dollars for the income tax credit?

        • avatar

          It is actually a fact, if these people….the good ones are legalized, the work force income tax would be of great significance/

          • avatar

            Uh, they are already working here legally under TPS status. What is actually a “fact” is that low skilled undereducated people, which most of them are, pay little or no income tax. These people are not suddenly going to obtain PHDs in middle age. . Keep ignoring what I said about how you can get the earned income tax credit of over 5 thousand dollars even if you pay no income taxes.

          • avatar

            Easy Leland…….out of 330M people that get those breaks…….the ones “you claim” basically insignificant///use your brains……

    • avatar

      The Social Security Administration’s Halloween Skeleton in the Closet

      Its also in the banks and credit bureau closets too…knowledge of duplicate Social Security Number (SSN) use….its totally embarrassing and its obviously purposely overlooked today by the Rino establishment too.

      I hear Trump’s fix is simple….all legal citizens will get the “new SSN” number system replacements. Progressive NWO types are totally HORRIFIED….it may be a data number that is collected only from the legal citizen and can’t be copied [like bio metrics].

      I used to be afraid of IDs based on finger prints or equivalent; I’ve changed my mind, let’s do it.