By Congressman Chris Smith (R-4th)
As chair of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, I have taken numerous trips to Central American and African countries and have chaired over 85 hearings on issues related to Africa alone. I have visited South Sudan twice within the last 18 months to investigate violence and famine and find solutions.
What I have consistently taken away has been the innate goodness and resiliency of people facing extraordinarily difficult challenges – perhaps President Trump should visit these countries and see this for himself.
The dire circumstances that compel individuals and families to emigrate to the United States does not diminish their love of country and culture. Once here, the men and women have contributed significantly to society and have become our neighbors and valued members of communities in my congressional district and across the U.S.
Throughout my career, I have supported compassionate policies that provide refuge to individuals fleeing political instability, violence and natural disaster.
I voted for legislation that established Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation, the Immigration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-649), have sponsored and co-sponsored legislation and most recently, authored a joint letter to Speaker Ryan, seeking protection for TPS beneficiaries.
These individuals have come out of devastating conditions – including dictatorship, war, terrorism, famine, disease – and have lived here for years with their families contributing greatly to American culture and economy. According to one study among TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, the work force participation rate is over 80 percent. To terminate their protected status would result in the break-up of families and their return to countries with conditions that may still be unsafe.