Immigration law is secondary to political policy.
Temporary protected status is one such example.
Despite talk about humanitarian concerns, the decision to grant or deny TPS to those in need from a foreign country rests on international Machiavellianism.
Consider TPS for Pakistan.
The Case For Pakistani Temporary Protected Status
In July 2010, Pakistan experienced its worst flooding in 80 years.
Following the U.S. government’s non-response to Pakistani requests for TPS, Texas Congressman Al Green introduced the Pakistani Temporary Protected Status Act of 2011.
It was quickly referred to a House committee, where it has languished and appears to have become a forgotten legislative measure.
Among the facts set forth in the Pakistan TPS Bill (H.R. 285), it was noted:
- According to the United Nations, 20,000,000 people, one-eighth of the population, and nearly 62,000 square miles, one-fifth of the country, have been significantly affected by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure.
- The Pakistani Government estimates that approximately 1.9 million houses were either damaged or destroyed and nearly 2,000 people have lost their lives.
- The floods severely devastated Pakistan’s infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, health clinics, electricity and communications. More than 5,000 miles of roads and railways were washed away, along with some 7,000 schools and more than 400 health facilities.
- In addition, about 17 million acres of Pakistan’s most fertile croplands have been submerged by the floods, in a nation where farming is an economic mainstay. The waters have also killed more than 200,000 head of livestock and washed away large quantities of stored commodities that feed millions throughout the year.
On August 14, 2010, the first documented case of cholera emerged in the town of Mingora.
Two weeks after the flood, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported from Pakistan:
Each year since 2010, the annual floods has set back efforts to rebuild Pakistan, and curtailed efforts at normalizing the country’s domestic situation.
A TPS Double Standard?
Meanwhile, for the past three years, temporary protected status for Pakistanis has been missing in action.
When Congressman Green initialized his proposal for TPS, he asserted “The people of Pakistan have suffered a very traumatic tragedy and I think providing this TPS is necessary to help them attain a sense of stability in the United States while their country recovers.”
“Furthermore,” he added, “Pakistan is our military ally, as well as an important trade partner and I believe those are also factors which reinforce the merit of this bill.”
That view, however, conflicts with how some Americans have viewed Pakistan.
Lingering 9/11 Fears
Drawing on lingering 9/11 memories, opponents alleged TPS would give Islamic terrorists a safe haven in the United States.
They asserted Pakistan has served as a training center for Islamic terrorists determined to wreak havoc in the West. In their view, this overrides humanitarian concerns.
In Hosting Illegal Aliens From A Terrorist Haven, one anti-TPS blogger wrote, “Pakistan’s notoriety as an exporter of terrorism makes the TPS bill an exceedingly reckless measure. With it, illegal aliens from a terrorist haven will be given protected status to roam free within our borders.”
The author not only minimized the destructive harm to non-terrorist Pakistani nationals, living here and abroad, but also exaggerated bogey man fears of terrorism.
Being a veteran San Bernardino immigration attorney, I can attest that he overlooked the relatively small number of undocumented Pakistanis living in the U.S. and evading deportation at the time of the flooding.
Pakistani Disillusionment Over Silent TPS Denial
On the other hand, in the view of the Pakistan USA Freedom Forum (PUFF), the Obama administration has engaged in a double standard towards those suffering from the national disaster in Pakistan.
“The Obama Administration could provide this TPS with a stroke of the pen. It is a humanitarian measure which does not need to go through Congress. But so far this Administration has done nothing (except more murderous drone attacks on civilians violating the sovereignty of Pakistan).”
As the U.S. government has chosen to remain relatively silent on granting TPS to Pakistan citizens and nationals living in the U.S., the frustration towards the administration has grown in recent years.
In the BBC video above, the reporter noted the United States worries about allowing extreme Muslimist forces to take leadership, due to the U.S. absence, in helping Pakistan citizens rebuild their nation.
Nonetheless, three years later, the demise of TPS for Pakistan remains shrouded in mystery.
TPS Politics In Action
In reality, the difference with the Syrian TPS and Haitian TPS outcomes is somewhat obvious. It lies in the political calculations.
In all likelihood, the fears articulated by conservative TPS opponents are likely held by many immigration officials.
Hence, rather than go public with such reservations, the Obama administration chose to let Pakistani TPS die a relatively quiet death.
Not exactly courageous.
But certainly Machiavellian.
By Carlos Batara, Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics