Why We Must Think Beyond TPS for Haiti and Other Failed States

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In the next several weeks the Department of Homeland Security will have to decide whether to extend, yet again, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians living the U.S. Haitians were first granted TPS in 2010, following a devastating earthquake that hit the country. Seven and half years later that status is still in place and advocates and “humanitarian” organizations are lobbying hard to grant Haitians another  18 months’ stay in this country.

In a letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly, 35 self-described humanitarian groups make their case for why Haitian nationals should not be required to return home. They note that since the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s woes have been compounded by Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm that hit the country last October. But that’s not all. According to the letter, some 1.5 million Haitians “face high levels of food insecurity” and “an additional 1.65 million are at risk of cholera infection.” Then there’s the poverty and violence that plague the country. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Forty percent of households are headed by women and domestic violence affects a quarter of the female population.

The issue of whether to grant Haitians an extension of TPS raises questions for the United States and other Western nations that go far beyond the circumstances of this one benighted country. It raises the serious question of how the developed world is going to deal with an ever-growing number of failed societies. Haiti was a mess the day before it was struck by the earthquake and it will still be a mess at the end of the next TPS extension.

Haiti is a failed society at every conceivable level. There is little the country can do to prevent natural disasters – it obviously sits on a fault line and in the path of hurricanes that sweep through the Caribbean on a regular basis. But its ability to recover from the events is hampered by centuries of political and economic corruption, and ecological irresponsibility.

After the earthquake, foreign governments and international NGOs poured billions of relief dollars into the country. Much of that money was either squandered or stolen. Kleptocratic and despotic regimes have left most of the population in dire poverty. In an effort to fend for themselves, desperate Haitians have stripped the country of its forests, eroding the country’s soil resulting in the “high levels of food insecurity” described in the letter to Kelly, and turning routine hurricanes into catastrophes.

The pathologies would be bad enough if it they were just limited to Haiti. But they’re not. Much of the migration crisis affecting Europe is the result of similar circumstances playing out across parts of Africa and Asia. In our own hemisphere, there are failed and failing states that are just one bad day away from becoming the next Haiti.

Western nations can’t simply turn their backs on the cast-offs from these failed societies. Even if it were ethically possible to do so, the global instability that would be caused would inevitably draw us into interminable and intractable conflicts. Nor can we simply absorb the sizeable chunk of humanity that lives in these failed and failing societies, or assimilate the failed cultures that are responsible for making these countries unlivable.

We should reject calls for further extension of TPS for Haitians because the immediate aftermath of the triggering event has long since passed and the standard for requiring people to return home cannot be full recovery. Even though TPS is, in theory, applicable only to people who were in the United States at the time of the triggering event, a common thread that runs through all countries receiving this designation is that they are places people desperately want to leave. Instead of dealing with failed societies on an ad hoc basis – i.e. when people start washing up on our shores – the United States and other Western nations must begin developing plans and strategies for dealing/coping with what is likely to be an ever-growing phenomenon.

Plans and strategies should not imply that we have the ability to fix the problems that are driving the migration crises around the world. Rather, the goal must be to find the best ways (best, as in least bad) to address the problems at their core and protect people without encouraging mass and unsustainable transfers of population. The phenomenon of mass human migration is accelerating rapidly and the traditional responses simply won’t do.

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About Author

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Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.

19 Comments

  1. avatar
    Ernest M. Toseland on

    The T does stand for temporary!!! This is why all refugees should be made safe as close to there homes as possible. This eases the speedy return after the area is made safe again . They need to return to rebuild and reclaim their homes. If they come to America they should return and rebuild their countries!!

  2. avatar
    George Fuller on

    Why mention Haiti….Try El Salvador where the TPS was granted long before Haiti and they are still here………..TPS is nothing more than backdoor amnesty……

  3. avatar

    Well what is the purpose of a humanitarian program and its limits, perhaps it should be like immigration…controlled….but also people from failed Societies built this country…..where you ancestors successful before coming to the USA question to be answered for yourself to correlate compassion……

    Another question, what have you done to contribute to the growth fro this land?….do you have any patents..? give jobs to Americans….etc etc….I always ask those questions before I start to pointing fingers to myself…so answer those to yourself….none of my business….

    understand the article but it should address the first paragraph and how do we really quantify this? So it is the American way to solve a problem for the benefit of all in the future. SO:

    To make the best of the situation…..we should give scholarships perhaps to their best and their brightest which eventually help us still be a power in the future……such as create businesses instead of having them on a pay check every month out of our taxes etc…..

    That is my take, my feedback to you as I respect your opinion, respectfully.

    • avatar

      Most of the immigrants to this country until recently came from Europe. Those are hardly “failed societies”. People from failed societies don’t move to other failed societies. What would be the point. That’s why so many people are coming to the US and Europe. The real question is why so many countries, like Latin America, can’t build successful societies. Including Mexico and Venezuela, which are rich in natural resources but have completely dysfunctional governments. Or Cuba, whose population has let 2 brothers run their country for their own personal benefit for 58 years. Or they sit in exile in Miami and talk tough.

      • avatar

        Really!!? where have you been Leland?…hahahaha!!!…THe Mexican Indian was here before us!!…!!!…Ireland a power?…I can keep on going…India a power?????…….Motorola CEO,….///Lebanon a Power?……..Steve jobs’ dad the best surgeon yet an illegal from Mexico……..my apologies in advance but you wear your rear bumper as a hat!!! hahahaha!!!!….Africa a power!!!>>>???? yet they contributed to the American Dream,,,you are senile my poor fellow Leland…..

        I already knew but now I know you have no background of who we are…..pitiful….

        Same as I told SWE…I know many people from failed states that are scientists and are wealthier and smarter than you and me that have contributed to this land…..you are completely NUTS!!!

        • avatar

          Is there an English translation for all that garbled swill? It’s amazing how you always “know” someone no matter the situation being discussed. One would almost be tempted to think you just make them up.

          • avatar

            Well of course it is called THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE….now for you….who has a lower IQ than an illegal it is normal you do not understand it.

        • avatar

          Wow Peter! How about this, who are the ones that can afford to leave the failed states? Usually the better off in the social ladder of the society. That leaves the bottom tier of society to try and rectify the devastation. The ones that flee,( I call the rats that flee the sinking ship ) have to be sent back! The leaders and brain power are needed there much more to salvage the state. We don’t need them here, we have real leaders and brain power already.
          Addressing your comments about the Mexican Indians. Sure they were here, but they were conquered and displaced by the European people that came over. Just as has happened ever since life forms evolved and moved on this planet . The smart and strong take over and displace the week and wieary. By the way, yes my parents came from Germanyin 1960, hardly a failed state. You I assume have a feeling of guilt and are most likely a SJW. A lib-tard with open boarders beliefs . People use to come to America and Europe for freedom and prosperity, now they come for dependence and handouts. We cannot fix, or make them fix their failed states. They have to do it themselves! Give a uneducated person a goat he will eat it then starve. Teach him to milk it and breed it, they will prosper.

          • avatar

            Fred this is my take to you:

            Well what is the purpose of a humanitarian program and its limits, perhaps it should be like immigration…controlled….but also people from failed Societies built this country…..where you ancestors successful before coming to the USA question to be answered for yourself to correlate compassion……

            Another question, what have you done to contribute to the growth fro this land?….do you have any patents..? give jobs to Americans….etc etc….I always ask those questions before I start to pointing fingers to myself…so answer those to yourself….none of my business….

            understand the article but it should address the first paragraph and how do we really quantify this? So it is the American way to solve a problem for the benefit of all in the future. SO:

            To make the best of the situation…..we should give scholarships perhaps to their best and their brightest which eventually help us still be a power in the future……such as create businesses instead of having them on a pay check every month out of our taxes etc…..

            That is my take, my feedback to you as I respect your opinion, respectfully.

      • avatar

        Beautifully said Leland. I’m sure Peter the liberal new arrival will give us American citizens his liberal point of view. With liberal new arrivals it’s always the same lies.

  4. avatar

    The western wealthy countries have greatly contributed to this phenomena by exploiting incomprehensibly these failed societies. it is just pay back time. when are we all going to understand that exploitation from man by man was never intended to be part of creation of humankind? we are created to love one another not to take advantage of one another. whenever we think we can outsmart God and our own way to do things, we simply are outsmarting ourselves. and we pay greatly for it. the problems of these so-called failed societies have began by the now thriving societies. so it is now time for serious sharing of the pie. or the only thing you are going to hear is statements from cold-hearted idiots like you. main while if nothing is done to correct the problem of global exploitation, worst is yet to come. keep on being egoistic and egotistic sons of the Baptist, you will simply sit back and see all of your greedy asses be destroyed.

    • avatar

      Using the Bible to Promote Open Border Slave Trading Uh?

      Read Romans 13 carefully…..pay your government its full taxes and obey its immigration laws….its that simple.

      The hypothetical Revelations Bible Book documents, RE: the 666 Anti-Christ arises out of an One World Government open border Progressive Rich Elite Foreign favored dream and its EVIL to evangelical Christians.

      • avatar

        Really?….and you think the Roman way was the American way? to push your ways to others?….how anti-American is that?……having one central institution like the Romans looks like what SWE?…….we have been the opposite of the Romans……take the best that want to be the best……not to use them……but unfortunately we have been using the least unfortunate since birth….Slavery…..it is systematic..

        Think about it like China……that was abused by the outside world and the germanic tribes no differently…perhaps the reason Germany did rise as a default into nazism?…..who knows…Pradel is correct to certain extent….the ones in power and the ones being abused……but there is a hierarchy whether we like or not ……even in Heaven with Angels Archangels…etc….

        The point I am trying to make is that you exhibit that right wing trait and that of a loyalist…in which this country was never founded nor built on…..

        • avatar

          Last make your own research before believing into books that were written by men, specially when re-written many times in many different eras in addition to many languages…what does that tell you about their accuracy and precision form a profession: ENGINEERING you have practiced and learn all your life?

          • avatar

            I am not looking for an answer from you … I hope you are partially smart enough to understand, realize and improve yourself at this stage of your life dig what I wrote….if yo do…you are a real American and World class one kind of a human being which you should be…..alway learning n improving….the yankee ingenuity regardless of any limitations…and stand corrected when you have to….not for me to be correct but for you to have justification and quality of existence in this life time…..just laying down the facts straight….I do it to myself all the time…..