Trump's Decision to Reverse TPS Betrays American Values

Last month, the Trump Administration made a decision to reverse the humanitarian program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which allowed Salvadorans to take refuge in the United States during times of extreme danger. At first, TPS was meant to help Salvadorans fleeing the disastrous twin earthquakes that struck the country in 2001, but it was later interpreted by the Obama administration to account for the staggering murder rates caused by gang violence. As extreme violence has continued in El Salvador for the last two decades, TPS has become crucial to the survival and well-being of the more than 200,000 Salvadorans that have called our country home since 2001.

Reversing this policy is cruel not just because of its unprecedented length -- after 17 years in the United States, TPS recipients are far from temporary -- but also because conditions in El Salvador are more dangerous than ever before. Much of the current violence in El Salvador can be traced back to the United States’ now overwhelming criticized Latin America policy in the 1980s, which helped to destabilize the government, resulting in the departure of thousands of Salvadorans to America. Years later, those same refugees returned to El Salvador, introducing the violent gangs they first formed in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Thus, the foreign policy actions of the United States are directly responsible for the current gang violence ravaging El Salvador. El Salvadoran families came to our country fleeing the murder capital of the world in search of basic security and safety. We owe it to all Salvadorans soon to be subject to deportation, including those who have businesses, homes, and U.S. citizens as their children, to uphold our end of the bargain.

The termination of TPS for El Salvador isn’t just an isolated bad decision, but yet another example of the Trump Administration’s disregard for empathy, compassion, and the well-being of some of the world’s most vulnerable families. What President Trump, Jim Jordan, and so many other elected officials lack are the values that we do our best to live by everyday. If we want to see policy that reflects those values -- that protects innocent, hard-working Americans like small-business owner Aleyda Rodriguez from Columbus -- we must elect politicians who proudly champion those values and remember the human impact of every policy decision. When bad policy decisions that affect our neighbors right here in Ohio are made, it becomes our responsibility to remind those in Washington who we are and what we stand for. And that’s why we stand with Bishop Nelson Perez of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, who said, “I urge everyone to open their hearts to the needs of people today, to see the opportunities in front of us and to accompany those in difficult situations, especially those from El Salvador who have had the protection of the TPS provisions and who have been living productive lives in the United States.”

Government should work for all people, not against the most vulnerable. Terminating TPS while El Salvador remains so violent is an affront not only to one of the most critical tenets of American foreign policy -- humanitarian aid -- but also to the fundamental, everyday values that make America the country that it is. The situation in El Salvador hasn’t changed. The values of Americans haven’t changed. There’s no reason that legal status should.

Terminating TPS now betrays the essential American value of helping our neighbors in times of need. If elected, Janet will do everything in her power to champion this and so many other American values currently missing from Washington.

Zach WehrliComment