Today Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke asking her to review current TPS designated countries to ensure they meet the requirements. Several countries currently in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program will be up for review in the next several months.
The TPS program is supposed to grant temporary relief to foreign visitors whose home country faced an unexpected event -- armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions -- that would made it difficult for them to safely return home when their visa expired.
However, some countries’ TPS status has been renewed from 18 months to 7 years or more. Under the TPS program the foreign visitor can work and live in the U.S. until the TPS status expires.
In his letter Sen. Grassley raises concerns about the program saying, “Although I support TPS under the right circumstances, I am very concerned with the way the program has evolved over the last three decades. We now have a program that permits several hundred thousand otherwise removable aliens to remain in the United States, where they are eligible to receive public benefits and are authorized for employment, permitting them to take jobs that might otherwise be filled by one of the 7.1 million unemployed Americans.”
He also points out that some nationals of TPS designated countries travel unhindered between their home country and the U.S. yet the country still remains on the TPS list. “State Department statistics suggest that several other countries may also be enjoying unnecessarily extended TPS. Nationals of several TPS countries travel freely to and from the United States, indicating that country conditions are not so dire as to prevent a return to the TPS country,” he wrote.
Sen. Grassley concludes by asking the acting DHS Secretary three questions about the TPS review process.
Read the full letter here.
Updated: Tue, Nov 14th 2017 @ 2:45pm EST