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US Diplomats Said 'Please Don't Deport Refugees, It's Bad.' Trump Said, 'We Still Have Diplomats?'
Screw you, huddled masses. And your stupid anchor babies, too.
Let's begin with a brief word of clarification to random lackwits on Twitter who may read this: This is not a story about illegal immigrants. This is a story about people who have lived, worked, and raised families in the USA with full legal permission to be here. If you say anything about "illegals" in reply, you have automatically lost the argument. Thank you. Dumbfuck.
In yet another cheerful update on the New Cruelty, we learned late yesterday that before the Trump administration announced in January it would be ending temporary protected status (TPS) for people from Central America and Haiti, US diplomats had cabled the State Department to warn against sending those approximately 300,000 folks back to their home countries, because those countries would not be able to safely absorb the influx of people any time soon.
The Washington Post reports the State Department, then run by Rex Tillerson, didn't merely go against the recommendations -- it didn't even reply to the diplomats who had sent them, and Tillerson's decision to recommend ending TPS was yet another factor that led to the resignation or early retirement of several veteran State Department personnel. Which of course is great, because who needs a diplomatic corps when we have such a terrific military?
The warnings were transmitted to top State Department officials last year in embassy cables now at the center of an investigation by Senate Democrats, whose findings were recently referred to the Government Accountability Office. The Washington Post obtained a copy of their report.
The cables’ contents, which have not been previously disclosed, reveal career diplomats’ strong opposition to terminating the immigrants’ provisional residency [...] and the possible deportation of hundreds of thousands of people to some of the poorest and most violent places in the Americas.
The timing of the leaked report seems like no coincidence: On Friday, DHS ended TPS status for 57,000 people from Honduras, as a follow-up to January's revocation of TPS for 195,000 Salvadorans and 46,000 Haitians. Those affected by the orders have 18 months after the end of TPS to leave, or they will be subject to forcible deportation. Many of those affected have put down roots, starting businesses and getting married and having children. WaPo notes that "TPS recipients from those three countries are the mothers and fathers of an estimated 273,000 U.S.-born children who will have to leave or separate from their parents." Clearly, all 300,000 of the people with TPS should have abstained from sex, marriage, and business while they were here as invited guests. Really quite irresponsible of them.
Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have been trying to get answers from State about how it made the decision to recommend ending TPS; staffers were allowed to see the cables in January. Son of a gun: Looks like Tillerson completely cut the regional experts out of the decision, because they recommended stuff that went against Trump's new Deport Everyone agenda. Plus, you know, he didn't like talking to State Department employees.
Congress established TPS in a 1990 immigration bill and it was signed into law by that flaming liberal George H.W. Bush; the idea was to give refuge to people from countries that had suffered wars and natural disasters until it was safe for them to go home. The definition of "temporary" has become contentious: Previous administrations have all relied on US diplomats' assessments of whether the affected countries are ready for large numbers of folks to be repatriated, and since we're talking about poor countries that haven't miraculously sprouted jobs and infrastructure, TPS status has been extended again and again. TPS was granted to Hondurans after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998, killing 10,000 people in mudslides and flooding; for Salvadorans in 2001, after two large earthquakes, and to Haitians after the 2010 earthquake that the country is still (slowly) recovering from. To further complicate things, the two Central American countries have experienced waves of gang violence that have resulted in some of the world's highest murder rates.
But the evil fucks in the anti-immigration crowd insist "temporary" can't possibly mean decades, and so it's time to ship everyone home, regardless of the countries' ability to take them, because goddammit, don't the people in those shitholes understand what "temporary" is? Yes, that is literally the argument for shipping out 300,000 people, most of them economically productive: They're brown and they offend teabaggers' sense of the meaning of English.
The diplomats warned Tillerson that ending TPS would be terrible economic and political news for the countries we'd send over a quarter million people back to:
Money sent home by Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States is an engine for job creation that reduces the pressure to go abroad, U.S. diplomats note. These remittances account for nearly 20 percent of the gross domestic product in El Salvador and Honduras and nearly 30 percent in Haiti, according to 2016 World Bank estimates.
And because TPS recipients living in the United States may fear taking their children back, they are more likely to remain in the country unlawfully or seek to return illegally if deported — a bonanza for smuggling networks and gangs, the diplomatic cables said.
Those forced to return will find countries wracked by extreme violence and widespread poverty. In recent years, Honduras and El Salvador have endured some of the highest homicide rates in the world as street gangs battle over territory and drive thousands from their homes. Haiti, where about 200,000 died in the 2010 earthquake, was battered again by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Pfft, Tillerson didn't care. Not his problem, and he didn't want another fight with Trump, so he ignored the diplomats, never even acknowledged their cables, and overruled officials at State who argued that mass deportations would cause more problems in the long run. Those would be the people who remember how MS-13 took hold in El Salvador in the first place, when the US rounded up gangbangers in Los Angeles and deported them without any aid to the Salvadoran government to deal with the violent thugs. Not our problem anymore, and that's worked out just great, hasn't it?
Trump's point men on Deporting Everyone, Stephen Miller and John Kelly, were especially contemptuous of State Department staffers who argued that mass deportations could hurt America, and in the face of opposition from the White House and no support from Tillerson, quite a few career people at State just called it quits.
Congress could, in theory, fix this through some of the legislation it considered back when Trump still seemed open to a deal on fixing DACA, which he also broke, but after the infamous "Shithole Countries" tantrum provoked by Miller and Kelly, there doesn't appear to be a lot of movement there either.
This is where we'd love to tell you there are a whole bunch of Democrats pledging they'll make protecting Dreamers and TPS recipients a priority for the fall campaign. Yep, we sure would love to tell you that.
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[ WaPo ]