- Created: Tuesday, 16 January 2018 12:02
- Written by Alvaro Michaels
President Trump’s recent abusive remarks about El Salvador, Haiti and African states sharply brings home again the relation between nominally independent states and the imperialist powers in this neo-colonial ‘globalised’ world. On 8 January Trump announced the decision to end ‘temporary protected status’ (TPS) from July 2019 for 260,500 Salvadorans and 46,000 Haitians legally working in the US, so cutting off the flow of their remittances to El Salvador and Haiti, removing the central purpose for these workers’ migration to the US, and, ironically for US banks, the dollars that allow the countries to pay their international debts.
These moves ignore objections from the US Chamber of Commerce, representing companies who profit from this highly exploited labour. The Salvadorian labour force participation rate is 88%, 25 percentage points above the US average, and their unemployment rate is 5%. Salvadoran TPS holders have 45,000 mortgages.
El Salvador is the fourth country for which the Trump administration has announced an end to TPS. Overall the administration has identified more than 320,000 immigrants who will lose their legal status from late 2018 and 2019 (and up to 375,000, depending on decisions about 57,000 Honduran immigrants in the spring). These people have lived in the US for periods of up to 17 years. Ten countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, are currently in the TPS programme, overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. TPS status is granted in 6-18 month renewable periods. Since 2001 El Salvador has had ten renewed protection periods at $495 per person each time. By January 2017, 51% of Salvadorans with TPS had been in the US at least 20 years. Roughly 192,700 US-born children have at least one parent who could be forced to leave because of the announcement. These children’s age prevent them sponsoring their parents for Green cards. The parents have no legal rights to apply to stay. In September 2017, Trump gave about 500 Sudanese a final 18 months on TPS. In November, the same decision affected 59,000 Haitian and 2,500 Nicaraguan immigrants.
After years of violent oppression by US puppets in Central America, attacking every sign of democratic struggle, ripping resources from these countries, including labour, the US deliberately added the deportation to El Salvador of Salvadorians with US criminal records. It exported MS-13, which started as a Los Angeles prison gang, where it grew. El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world. In 2015 (UN Office of Drugs and Crime) El Salvador had 108.64 homicides per 100,000 people, further driving migrants to the US. The next most deadly country, Honduras, had 63.75 murders per 100,000, so 22 times as disastrous as the US.
The 11 million currently unauthorised immigrants already have to deal with the fear of arrest daily. Tens of thousands of immigrants who have lost TPS so far have stayed, their countries destroyed by the US staunchly supporting the most violent methods of ruling class oppression in their original homelands. There really is ‘no place like home’ to flee from. These latest victims now join the 700,000 US-raised immigrants who are at risk with the end of the ‘Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals’ (DACA) programme. The aim is, as ever, to control and manipulate capitalism’s reserve army of labour, to intimidate, frighten and divide the 40 million US workers struggling in poverty. For imperialism to allow rights for workers inevitably weakens it - so it must not only underline the temporary nature of these rights, but crush resistance to their retention and extension.