In recent days, President Trump has heightened his anti-immigration rhetoric, now signaling that he will not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that shields more than 300,000 immigrants from deportation. Since 1990, TPS has provided a haven for people already residing in the United States who are fleeing or reluctant to return to 10 specific countries affected by dangerous situations, including ongoing armed conflict and environmental disaster. While TPS does not offer a path to citizenship, it does allow people to live and work in the United States until it is safe to return home.
Terminating TPS would have dire humanitarian consequences for people who have lived in the United States for years and cannot safely return to their countries of origin. Indeed, it was alarm at the humanitarian failures of existing immigration and asylum policies that spurred activists to push policymakers to create TPS. Their efforts throughout the 1980s show that sustained legislative pressure by grass-roots activists matters — an important lesson for immigrants and advocates as they challenge the rhetoric and policies coming out of the White House today.