Have you heard about the latest outrage being committed by the Trump administration? Yes, yes… I know it can be hard to keep track of all the outrages these days. But this one involves another immigration question which is always a reliable method to get the left up in arms. Nick Miroff at the Washington Post has the details of Trump’s plan to cruelly kick thousands of citizens of Nepal out of the United States, in his “latest move to expel foreigners.”
What a monster, right? Of course, that’s not remotely close to what’s actually going on (as you’ll see below), but let’s see how Nick chooses to describe it.
The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to cancel the temporary residency permits of about 9,000 immigrants from Nepal, the Trump administration’s latest move to expel foreigners living in the United States with some form of provisional status.
According to internal planning documents viewed by The Washington Post, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will give the Nepalis a one-year grace period to prepare their departure, but they would face deportation after June 24, 2019.
The Nepalis were granted temporary protected status (TPS) — allowing them to remain in the United States legally — after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the country three years ago, on April 25, 2015, killing nearly 9,000.
First of all, the White House isn’t looking to “cancel the temporary residency permits” of anyone. These are people who applied for Temporary Protected Status through the office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The word “Temporary” should have given you a clue, but let’s see what that program is designed to do as described on the agency’s website.
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS. The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
– Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
– An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
– Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
So the program is only designed to provide relief from various crisis situations on a temporary basis. The TPS was set up for Nepal on June 24, 2015 after the severe earthquake they suffered. It was originally set to expire December 25, 2016. But in October of that year, owing to the extensive damage from the earthquake, DHS issued an extension of the TPS to run through June 24, 2018 (posted in the Federal Register at that link). Remind me again who was president then? That’s right. The Obama administration originally only thought a TPS was needed for a period of 18 months. They already gave them one extension of an additional 18 months, and the TPS was always set to expire this June.
In other words, Trump isn’t “canceling” anything, but simply following through on what the Obama era DHS determined was appropriate. And to top it off, Trump is giving them another entire year to get their affairs in order and head home. As USCIS notes on the page I linked above, there was nothing preventing anyone who wished to apply for citizenship or longer resident legal alien status from doing so. If they qualified, they could remain. But for everyone else, this was always meant to be an emergency relief measure while the worst of the initial damage was shoveled out.
It’s been nearly three years since the earthquake. At some point, it becomes Nepal’s responsibility to finish cleaning up and providing shelter for their own people. So go ahead and blame Trump if that’s your instinctive reaction, but he’s simply carrying out a policy put in place by Barack Obama.