Citing COVID, Senate Democrats Recklessly Demand Amnesty for Millions of Central Americans

Senate Democrats are demanding the Biden administration grant and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to at least 2 million illegal aliens from Central America.

Created in 1990, TPS provides temporary protection to illegal aliens in the United States unable to return to their home countries due to exigent circumstances such as armed conflict or natural disasters. It provides individuals deportation relief as well as work permits until conditions improve in the home countries. The designation lasts between six and 18 months but is often renewed indefinitely and becomes a quasi-amnesty for those here unlawfully—something the program was never envisioned to do.

Senate Democrats are urging the Biden administration to grant TPS to Guatemalans, and to extend eligibility to citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. More than 300,000 illegal aliens from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua already receive TPS. In a letter to the Biden administration, the 32 Democratic senators claim that the “social and economic crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic warrant such an action by the Administration.” (As if our country isn’t suffering under the same circumstances!)

If Senate Democrats want the Biden administration to grant and/or expand TPS for countries that have been negatively impacted by COVID, then nearly every country in the world could qualify. This is clearly an unreasonable proposal that must not be considered seriously. Under this logic, tens of millions of illegal aliens could potentially receive a back-door pass to permanent residency. As we have seen repeatedly, TPS is almost never temporary.

Take, for example, countries cited in this letter: El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. After a hurricane struck the region, Honduras and Nicaragua received TPS in 1999, while Salvadorans were granted TPS in 2001. More than 20 years later, these designations are still not removed and, as seen by this letter, there are efforts to expand protections even more. While TPS was intended to provide temporary relief after a natural disaster like a hurricane, it was never envisioned to protect those here unlawfully indefinitely.

Similarly, of the 12 countries that currently benefit from TPS, eight have maintained that status for at least six years, and five have been granted it for more than 20 years.

Rather than providing TPS to nationals of yet another country, the program should be reformed by establishing clear time limitations and creating statutory tests that must be met to grant or extend the TPS designation.