The Trump administration has decided that things in Sudan are just hunky-dory now, so it’s going to wind down a program allowing Sudanese nationals to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation. While there are only a bit over a thousand Sudanese refugees currently in the U.S., the determination is being seen by many as a portent that immigration protections may end for much larger populations of people fleeing war and other dangers in their home countries.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday afternoon that it would be ending Temporary Protected Status for Sudan after a 12-month sunset period. It opted to extend, however, Temporary Protected Status for South Sudan, which gained its independence in 2011, through May 2019.
That “12-month sunset” means that people from Sudan will have until November 2, 2018, to either leave the country or find some way to legally stay here, or they’ll risk deportation to Sudan, which is still not exactly a nice place to live. Human Rights Watch seems not to think Sudan is a good place to which to send people away:
Sudan’s human rights record remains abysmal in 2016, with continuing attacks on civilians by government forces in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile states; repression of civil society groups and independent media; and widespread arbitrary detentions of activists, students, and protesters.
But apparently it’s now good enough to give people the boot and wish them good luck. We’d give them a Bible to keep them safe, but the ACLU won’t let us.fleeing the U.S. for Canada and seeking refugee status there.
It’s worth noting that, because they have temporary protected status, these folks are not “illegal immigrants,” no matter what your crazy rightwing uncle emails you. Some of the Sudanese who’ll have to get the hell out have been in the U.S. with that protected legal status for 20 years, as CNN explains:
TPS is not a blanket protection — immigrants have to have been living in the US continuously since a country was “designated” for TPS in order to qualify.
For example, Sudan was first designated in 1997 and was re-designated in 1999, 2004 and 2013, meaning people had opportunities to apply if they’ve been living in the US since any of those dates. South Sudan’s TPS was established in 2011 and had re-designations in 2014 and 2016.
Both countries were designated for TPS based on “ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions.”
Trump’s administration seems determined to decide that plenty of countries that few Trumpers would consider fit to live in themselves are plenty fit to send people back to, ASAP:
In the next six months, roughly 400,000 immigrants’ status will be up for consideration, including Central American countries like El Salvador that have been a focus of the President’s ire over illegal immigration and gang activity.
But that’s fine, because we have our own problems to deal with, especially all these damn refugees taking all our tax money and not giving anything back. Or at least that’s the official position, since the Trump administration killed a Department of Health and Human Services study earlier this year which came to the unwelcome conclusion that refugees are a net benefit to the economy — and by quite a lot. Yes, they often need public housing and food stamps and other assistance when they arrive, but once they’ve gotten on their feet, refugees tend to get jobs, start businesses, and become taxpayers. The quashed HHS study found refugees generated $63 billion more in government revenues than the social assistance they received:
The internal study, which was completed in late July but never publicly released, found that refugees “contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government” between 2005 and 2014 through the payment of federal, state and local taxes. “Overall, this report estimated that the net fiscal impact of refugees was positive over the 10-year period, at $63 billion.”
Clearly, that finding didn’t fit with the Trump narrative that, apart from all being potential terrorists who will KILL YOU WITH SHARIA LAW IN YOUR SLEEP, refugees cost more than they’re worth to America, so unctuous Trump aide Stephen Miller demanded the HHS report be rewritten to compare only costs of services for refugees against the costs of government services provided to U.S. citizens.
An internal email, dated Sept. 5 and sent among officials from government agencies involved in refugee issues, said that “senior leadership is questioning the assumptions used to produce the report.” A separate email said that Mr. Miller had requested a meeting to discuss the report. The Times was shown the emails on condition that the sender not be identified. Mr. Miller personally intervened in the discussions on the refugee cap to ensure that only the costs — not any fiscal benefit — of the program were considered, according to two people familiar with the talks.
So the final report HHS released September 5 showed conclusively that refugees cost too much:
“In an average year over the 10-year period, per-capita refugee costs for major H.H.S. programs totaled $3,300,” it says. “Per-person costs for the U.S. population were lower, at $2,500, reflecting a greater participation of refugees in H.H.S. programs, especially during their first four years” in the United States.
That troublesome stuff about the tax revenue generated by refugees working and running businesses was left out altogether, the better to leave the impression that refugees are only a drag on the economy because they never, ever get off the dole, and that’s why we need to take in even fewer refugees, forever.
And that’s today’s installment of How To Lie Like A Member Of The Trump Administration.