Case in point: the massive “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) program run by the Department of Homeland Security.
In theory, as the DHS website describes it, 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.” Those conditions include hurricanes, environmental catastrophes, civil war, epidemics and other “extraordinary and temporary conditions.”
The U.S. allows illegal aliens from TPS-designated countries to live here, work here, be protected from detention or deportation, and travel freely. It’s essentially a bad-weather pass into the U.S. Whenever a natural disaster strikes, we allow legions of foreigners who entered illegally — mostly from Latin America — to stay here while their homelands recover.
In the meantime, TPS winners can apply for a panoply of other immigration benefits and protections and file for “adjustment of status” to pave the way to permanent legalization. In fact, the official draft application for Obamacare lists “Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Applicant for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)” as an “eligible immigration status.”
Yep, that means you don’t even have to be a legit, approved TPS designee to qualify for Obamacare. If you merely filed paperwork to be an “applicant” for TPS, you’re in like Flynn! DHS documents are now officially pimping Obamacare to foreigners. And GOP Senate Budget Committee staffers estimate that covering illegal aliens could raise the cost of Obamacare by $120 billion to $200 billion in its first decade.
In theory, TPS beneficiaries are supposed to go home after their native countries improve. In practice, there is nothing temporary about these “temporary” reprieves for hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens from around the world.
Last week, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that TPS had been extended for at least 70,000 Hondurans and Nicaraguans “for an additional 18 months, beginning July 6, 2013, and ending Jan. 5, 2015.” Thanks to American generosity, these TPS winners have been here since 1998 — when Hurricane Mitch hit their homeland. That was 15 years ago.
Another 250,000 illegal aliens from El Salvador first won TPS golden tickets after an earthquake struck the country ... in January 2001. In addition, 60,000 Haitians received TPS after the earthquakes in 2010. Last fall, Napolitano extended their stay until at least 2014. Several hundred Somalis remain in the country with TPS first granted in 1991, along with some 700 Sudanese who first secured TPS benefits in 1997. Last March, the Obama administration extended TPS to an estimated 3,000 Syrian illegal aliens. Guatemala and Pakistan are lobbying for their own TPS designations.
As I explained when former President George W. Bush reflexively renewed work and residence permits for a quarter-million El Salvadoran illegal aliens in 2005, TPS designations are TINO: temporary in name only. Beneficiaries are supposed to register with the government. But DHS will do little to nothing to track them down once their status expires (if ever). Remember: After more than two decades, the federal government still doesn’t even have an entry-exit database in place to track legal short-term visa holders.
TPS beneficiaries are supposed to provide proof that they arrived here on an eligible date, committed no more than two misdemeanors (!) and no felonies, and maintained a continuous presence in the country. But the feds’ past experience with amnesties dating back to 1986 shows that the programs are dangerously rife with unchecked document fraud.
The prescient Federation for American Immigration Reform saw right through this transparent social and electoral engineering scheme. In congressional testimony from 1999, the organization warned:
“For the past 20 years, we have seen these programs transformed into backdoor immigration programs that are manipulated by the lobbying of foreign governments, ethnic lobbies and our own political leadership alike. Each special program that provides short-term relief has been followed by persistent demands for similar treatment by other groups and nationalities, not necessarily made up of persons in the same circumstances. It has now been politicized beyond recognition, and certainly no longer deserves the support of the general public.”
“Temporary” amnesties never die. They just keep rolling and rolling along, producing new waves of cheap votes for Democrats and cheap labor for Big Business.
American sovereignty, RIP.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010).