TPS Review and How to Become a Self-Taught Lawyer

M2D Newsletter 10/13

Splendid Subscriber, Is it not a Most Splendid Saturday?

Well, yes, the news might indicate otherwise. From hurricanes to Supreme Court nominations, to transitioning from baseball to basketball season, things are a little dark these days, but on the plus side, I’ve spent more time escaping to Quora, a site where people ask questions, other people answer, and the community upvotes their favorite responses.

I use Quora to prepare for real-life situations like, “If you had to play LeBron 1 on 1, what would you do?” and to read about scenarios that have absolutely nothing to do with me like, “Is it illegal to live in a storage unit in America?” Recently, I saw that someone posted, “Can you teach yourself to be a lawyer?”

I feel equipped to answer this one, and not just because I know of a self-taught ten-dollar Founding Father without a father…

“My name is Jessexander Hamilton.”

…but rather because of details revealed when a federal judge in California blocked the Trump administration’s plans to terminate the legal status of 300,000 immigrantswho fled violence and disaster in Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

The 300,000 immigrants have “Temporary Protected Status,” aka TPS, a program Congress created in 1990 to offer humanitarian relief to migrants whose homelands were engulfed in war and natural disasters. Sudan was designated for TPS in 1997 due to civil war, Salvadorans were allowed to apply for TPS after two earthquakes devasted their country in 2001, and the Golden State Warriors sought similar protection after LeBron wrecked their home court in 2016.

Critics say TPS allows immigrants to remain in the U.S. long after emergencies pass. Those protected under TPS also have beef with the program, saying that because TPS expires every 18 months, at which point administrations decide whether to renew the protection, it provides less peace of mind than my lease at Manhattan MiniStorage. Case in point: last January, Trump and co. announced that TPS would end in September 2019.

Enter U.S. District Judge Ed Chen in S.F., who ten days ago slammed the breaks on the plan, saying that the administration had appeared to make its decision based on a “preordained result desired by the White House.” In one instance, peeps at USCIS, the branch of the State Department that oversees TPS, laid out in a memo reasons why it was still dangerous to send people back to Sudan — and then slapped on to the end of the memo a recommendation to terminate protection for Sudanese people. The next day, John Cissna, director of USCIS, read the report and said it seems like “someone who opposes extension snuck up behind the first guy, clubbed him over the head, pushed his senseless body out of the way, and finished the memo. Am I missing something?”

M2D D.C.

Yes, Johnny bro (whose concerns were ignored), you are: implementing ideology is an inductive affair. As seen in the process to terminate TPS, just start with the result you want and then deal with pesky justifications for it later. Consider also the Trump administration’s inductive handling of the refugee cap, and we begin to see an alarming trend of “America First,” reason last.

So can you teach yourself to be a lawyer? Yes! In fact, borrowing the government’s logic, I’ve decided that I am one (will deal with law school later). Feel free to disagree with me right before I club you over the head.

Best,
Ben