Excerpts from CIS' House Judiciary Testimony on TPS

By CIS on March 28, 2019

Excerpts from testimony by Art Arthur, the Center's resident Fellow in law and policy, before the United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, regarding Temporary Protected Status (TPS):

  • On October 3, 2018, Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined the termination of TPS for Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, pending a final decision on a case challenging those terminations. Therefore, those designations will continue indefinitely.
  • As an aside, that decision itself demonstrates how pro forma a process extensions have become for countries granted TPS, hardly the outcome that Congress envisioned when it gave the executive branch that authority.
  • There are a significant number of countries in the world that are in much worse shape economically and politically than Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador that are not designated for TPS, because they would not be eligible for such designation. The Trump administration was correct to have discontinued the TPS designations for those countries.
  • Congress should act to limit the authority of the secretary of Homeland Security to extend TPS in the future to ensure that it is used properly and effectively. The designation of a country for TPS by the secretary should be, as an initial matter, an emergency act. Therefore, section 244 of the INA should be amended to make such a designation effective for no more than one year.
  • At the end of that year, any one-year extension (and any extension thereafter) should be presented as proposed legislation to be voted on by Congress. This scheme would give Congress the opportunity to consider continued extensions annually, and ensure that the TPS system is not being abused. It would also return significant authority to Congress to set immigration policy.
  • Were there to be an amnesty of any of the almost 437,000 foreign nationals who currently have TPS in the United States, legislative fixes that would address the negative impacts of such amnesty must be a part of that legislation.
  • The argument for granting lawful permanent residence to TPS recipients is even weaker. They have already been the beneficiaries of a generous program that has protected them against hardship in their countries. To the extent that TPS recipients have had children born in the United States, it is important to note that under current immigration law, those children (after they have turned 21) would be eligible to petition for their parents to obtain green cards. To the extent that they own property in the United States, they would be able to either sell that property to begin new lives back home (likely in a better financial position than their neighbors), or leave the care thereof to friends and relatives in the United States who would be able to convey the proceeds from that property to them in their home countries. Furthermore, again, they have had the benefits of not only the protection of the United States, but also access to the American educational system and healthcare, placing them in a better position than their compatriots who did not enter the United States illegally or overstay.