"Temporary" Protected Status for Haitian illegal aliens pushed by profiteers (Haiti earthquake)
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[TPS has been approved; see the update below]
Yesterday, Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security suspended repatriations of illegal aliens from Haiti; that makes some sense as long as it's actually temporary. What doesn't make sense are the calls from some to give "Temporary Protected Status" in the U.S. to Haitian illegal aliens. The word "temporary" is generally a misnomer as that status is renewed over and over.
TPS would be an infected band-aid that wouldn't fix Haiti's structural problems and in some cases would result in importing Haiti's problems into the U.S. It would also result in brain-draining that country of its more energetic citizens, making things easier for corrupt Haitian leaders. These pushing TPS are at root simply self-serving: they're interested in little more than obtaining political power. They're thinking only of themselves instead of trying to solve problems; they're only making the long-term situation worse.
"Well, we have, as you know, many Haitian Americans. Most are here legally. Some are not documented. And the Obama administration is taking steps to make sure that people are given some temporary status so that we don’t compound the problem that we face in Haiti."
Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, both Democrats, and (Representatives Lincoln Diaz Balart and Mario Diaz Balart) of south Florida, both Republicans, as well as John C. Favalora, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Miami... "If this is not a slam-dunk case for temporary protected status, I don’t know what is," said Kevin Appleby, a spokesman for the bishops. He said the status would allow Haitian immigrants here to work here and send money back to relatives in Haiti trying to recover from the quake.
Appleby's proposal is at heart immoral: he would encourage Haiti to become even more dependent on the U.S. than they already are and he would embed that dependence in their society, instead of encouraging them to develop their own commerce.
The letter from Senators encouraging TPS is here; in addition to Gillibrand and Schumer, the signatories are: John Kerry, Paul Kirk, Jeff Bingaman, Bill Nelson, Dick Durbin, Frank Lautenberg, Chris Dodd, Bob Menendez, Pat Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, Bob Casey, and Bernie Sanders.
(The Florida politicians including Ileana Ros Lehtinen) are among several leaders holding separate news conferences in Miami on Thursday to draw further attention to the issue. Others include the head of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, who will be accompanied by Edwidge Danticat, a celebrated Haitian author and winner of a MacArthur Fellow "genius" grant. Twenty-six refugee agencies also sent a joint letter Thursday urging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to consider TPS for Haitians, and the National Council of La Raza released a statement to the same effect.
That also contains Mark Krikorian seeming to support TPS in this case, as well as this:
"When somebody works here they can support up to 10 times that number back in Haiti. So we're talking about supporting hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti at no cost to U.S. taxpayers," (Steve Forester, a Miami-based advocate with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti) said.
Obviously, he's either trying to mislead people or he can't think things through. Many or most of the jobs they'd be doing would be jobs that Americans who are drawing unemployment insurance could be doing, and much of the labor those Haitians would be doing in the U.S. would be heavily subsidized.
"We are considering all alternatives available to us in extending a helping hand to Haiti," (Alejandro Mayorkas of the USCIS) said. He confirmed those considerations include temporary protected status for Haitians.
And, Reform Immigration for America is also promoting TPS with a petition drive: reformimmigrationforamerica.org/blog/blog/
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society has joined with several other groups in calling for TPS:
Likewise with Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:
"It is in the foreign policy interest of the United States and a humanitarian imperative of the highest order to have all people of Haitian descent in a position to contribute towards the recovery of this island nation."
See the comments above.
1/15/10 UPDATE: Janet Napolitano has now approved TPS, but only for those illegal aliens who were here on Tuesday. How they'll be able to tell isn't clear; some people will no doubt try to provide fake documentation showing they were here at that time.