What Could Go Wrong?

DHS grants temporary legal status to Yemeni citizens


The Obama administration Thursday announced it will grant legal status and halt deportations for potentially thousands of citizens of Yemen, saying the security situation on the ground there is so bad that the U.S. has a moral obligation to protect people.

But apparently no moral obligation to protect Americans. Why is it that whenever there’s any unpleasantness anywhere in the world that the U.S. feels it has to admit everyone who suffered from that unpleasantness, and probably no small proportion of those who caused it in the first place? Aren’t there other, nearby countries with related cultures and languages that might be a lot better choice?

“Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible,” the Homeland Security Department said in a statement announcing the move.

So, tough luck for any Yemeni adherents of the Tea Party.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Yemen the country that has seen more than its share of dangerous fanatics running around loose? I seem to recall a fulminant al-Qaeda cell and a Communist insurgency in the South, and a hell of a lot of terrorism, so these are people we clearly need in the U.S. right away. (Don’t let Saudi Arabia snag these Arabic speakers who live right next door; we need these high tech Yemeni workers now.)

But relax, they’re going to screen for criminal records and national security threats. Now we just have to count on Yemeni record-keeping. For a minute there I thought we might have a problem.

It turns out that foreign citizens of countries in the program (Temporary Protected Status) get an 18-month reprieve from deportation. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? But then, consider the final paragraph:

The initial grant is for 18 months, but TPS is often renewed. Honduras has been on the list for more than 16 years.


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