Throughout the past week, thousand of people, many of Salvadoran origin and descent, have taken to the streets in protest of President Trump’s decision to revoke the Temporary Protected Status of over 200,000 Salvadoran nationals. The decision, as reported by mainstream media, is not only an attack on American values, but an attack on helpless families who need the shelter and assistance of the United States in order to live their lives in safety and comfort. According to the mainstream media, the revocation of their Temporary Protected Status is yet another attack on ‘people of color,’ and evidence of Trumpian racism. These reports, as usual, could not be further from the truth.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS), created by Congress in 1990, was originally intended to grant foreign nationals already legally present in the United States permission to remain in the country for a period of ‘not less than 6 months, and not more than 18 months,’ under the guise of ‘extraordinary’ circumstances in their home country. For the more than 200,000 Salvadorans currently residing in the United States under TPS, the ‘extraordinary’ circumstances in their home country revolved around the 2001 series of earthquakes that rocked Central America. Of course, we have no idea how many of these people were legally present in the United States at the time of the earthquakes, and how many were illegally residing in the right place at the right time. Obviously, TPS was never intended to be used as a mechanism for granting amnesty or permanent residency to foreign nationals, but unfortunately and as usual, America’s kindness and humanitarianism has been taken advantage of, and 6-18 months has turned into nearly 17 years.
Under both the Bush and Obama Administration’s, TPS for this group of Salvadoran nationals was repeatedly extended, and has led to the situation currently faced by the Trump Administration. Despite the narrative put forward by mainstream media, President Trump’s decision re-enforces long standing law, and in stark contrast to the obviously politically motivated actions of Presidents Bush and Obama, puts America first.