President Donald Trump’s zero tolerance immigration policy which resulted in several thousand migrant children being separated from their families has caused an international outcry and a political backlash within the United States. And despite Trump’s executive order reversing the policy of separating migrant families, most of the children have not been reunited with their parents. In fact, it is possible that some children may never be reunited.
Now it turns out that the Trump administration has made another decision that may result in over 200,000 American-born children being separated from their parents.
According to the Washington Post, the government will soon revoke temporary protected status (TPS) for several hundred thousand people from Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras. When these people are deported it will usually require that they leave behind their children who were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens.
As the Post points out:
“If you think the last few weeks of separating 2,300 children from their migrant parents along the southern border were heart-wrenching, imagine if 273,000 American-born children are separated from parents whose TPS is terminated.”
That is what could happen if a new government policy is allowed to take effect.
According to the Post, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) next year will begin programs to deport more than 58,000 Haitians, more than 262,000 Salvadorans, and 86,000 Hondurans. When that happens, parents of U.S.-born children will have to decide whether or not to take their children with them back to their home countries — all of which have very high homicide rates and extreme poverty.
Taking children to these countries, deemed by the State Department as not safe for travel, will be very difficult because the children were born and raised in the U.S. and speak only English.
If they don’t take the kids with them, parents will have to leave their children alone in the United States or, if they’re lucky, with relatives, or foster parents who they may not even know.
The only other choice available would be to stay in the U.S. as undocumented aliens, which some experts believe is most likely to occur. If that happens then DHS will have to devote significant resources to locating, arresting and deporting several hundred thousand people.
The Trump administration’s TPS termination is an ill-considered decision that intends to reverse the policies of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, their secretaries of state and secretaries of homeland security, and their legal advisers.
According to the Post, “more than 80 percent of TPS beneficiaries work, pay taxes, and contribute an estimated $690 million each year into Social Security. It would cost an estimated $3 billion to deport them and the U.S. economy would lose about $4.5 billion each year in gross domestic product.”
The best solution is for Donald Trump to reverse the DHS termination decision and for Congress to authorize permanent residency for their parents now and a pathway to citizenship.
Given Donald Trump’s racist war on immigrants, and the Republican Congress’s inability to pass any immigration legislation, it is highly unlikely that these things will happen. The only real solution is for Democrats to take over control of Congress after this year’s midterm elections, and for a new Democratic president to take power after the 2020 election. Only then will the United States treat these people fairly and do what is right for our country.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.