On March 3, the Department of Homeland Security designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
TPS gives exemption from deportation, eligibility to apply for work authorization, and the possibility to be given authorization to travel outside the U.S. While TPS is not directly a path to legal residency or citizenship, it does not prevent you from filing for residency or citizenship.
The Department of Homeland Security decides what countries are eligible for Temporary Protected Status. They say they base their decision on what they call “temporary conditions” – an ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster, for example.
So is Ukraine being granted TPS a bad thing?
Of course not. The U.S. and NATO engaged in conflict with Russia through Ukraine. The least they could do is offer Ukrainians some measure of safe passage. (Of course, leave it to the fascist elements of the Ukrainian military and police to halt, harass, and murder non-white, non-Christian refugees at the border.)
What’s the problem then?
At issue is the double standard upheld by U.S. imperialism. In a better world, migrants and refugees would not need to rely on whether their country is eligible for Temporary Protected Status – we could travel and begin a path to citizenship anywhere in the world, for any reason. After all, multinational corporations have that freedom now.
Further, the countries currently designated for TPS are countries either directly or indirectly under attack by U.S. imperialism. Myanmar, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen are on the list of eligible countries.
The U.S. military, via AFRICOM, occupies and bombs Somalia, for example.
Somalia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, South Sudan, Venezuela and Yemen are under the attack of U.S. sanctions, that is, economic warfare.
Saudi Arabia, with the help of U.S. funding and arms, bombs Yemen regularly. El Salvador is still struggling decades after the U.S.-backed coup. And, of course, Syria has been the target of a U.S. proxy war campaign for nearly a decade. And so on and so on.
Meanwhile, there are still plenty of nations either under attack or reeling from intervention by the U.S., whose people now struggle tooth-and-nail to be able to live in the U.S., the nation that caused their displacement in the first place.
Undocumented students and workers have led numerous struggles for extending and maintaining TPS, for the DREAM Act, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in many cases successfully. Migrants from all over the world fight to claim asylum, being forced to prove to the same system that displaced them that they qualify for asylum. Even Iraqis and Afghans, promised a life in the U.S. in exchange for military cooperation, have to prove their case.
That Ukraine has gained Temporary Protected Status, after having its fascist coup and fascist military and police being backed and funded by the United States, is yet another page in the book against U.S. imperialism.
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