Op-Ed: Political Earthquakes are Cruel and Avoidable by Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Sinnott


A truly devastating 2001 earthquake prompted our government to grant “Temporary Protected Status” to homeless families from El Salvador.

Today, some 260,000 Salvadorans work and live in our country. About 20,000 of these men. women, and children, live right here in Maryland. Republican and Democratic administrations extended the program, for humanitarian reasons.

These residents, who live peacefully among us, are law abiding, have been demonstrably productive workers, paid taxes, raised families, bought homes, bolstered economic development of their communities, and graduated from schools and universities.

For example, I have known a Salvadoran family who came here after the earthquake. Since then, their five children have grown into model Americans and are now in the work force. All have graduated from high school. One attends university and is also an office manager in an insurance firm, two work in agricultural related concerns, and two are managers in service and food businesses. All attend church. All are kind, generous, capable and caring people of whom I’m very proud. They are testimony to what makes us a great nation.

But those decent people are in danger, and very afraid. Now a political earthquake is threatening both them and the Eastern Shore itself.

Out of the blue, on Jan. 8, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, announced she would end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador, with a delayed effective date of 18 months, to allow for an “orderly transition”, before the designation terminates totally on Sept. 9, 2019.” (www.uscis.gov retrieved January 11, 2018.)

So, ask yourself, “What is a family who has lived here for 16 years to do now? Should they leave all that they have built and achieved and move back to a country that is not ready to receive them? Should they leave their children, many of whom are in fact U.S. citizens, behind?”

Ask too: “Who will replace the workers forced to leave their jobs?

Above all, ask: “Why is this sudden change of policy necessary?” It is an affront to our fundamental values as an immigrant nation. It is mean-spirited. Don’t we value the “American Dream?”

Don’t we want to keep families together, not split them apart? Can’t we give our Salvadoran neighbors, who have given so much to this nation, a path to obtaining a Green Card and eventually become citizens? Terminating this program is not in our own self-interest.

Please join me in asking our Maryland Senators to work toward a humane and comprehensive immigration policy. Senators Van Hollen and Cardin are doing their best to protect all of the people in Maryland.

The real problem is on the Republican side of the aisle. The Republicans and the Trump administration just bequeathed to our children and grandchildren a $1.5 trillion deficit to pay off, so that the rich and corporations have even more largesse. They are dismantling programs that give working and middle class people a fair chance to improve their lives. They are fostering division between classes, races, and nationalities.

For the Eastern Shore, one of the biggest problems in Washington is Dr. Andy Harris our Congressional representative. He votes against anything that helps us — for example, to name just one matter, Federal aid to help Eastern Shore Marylanders to recover from Hurricane Sandy. He votes for legislation which helps the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class citizens, like the recent tax scam.

Join me in asking Dr. Harris, to stop hurting the Eastern Shore business community because of his punitive and mean ideology. Most of all, ask Dr. Harris to stop punishing the Eastern Shore

by raising our taxes, depleting our workforce, supporting regressive immigration policies, and undermining the democracy we all hold so dear.


Rev. Dr. Thomas G. Sinnott is affiliated with Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible

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