State Dept warned DHS not to end protected status for some immigrants, saying it would strengthen MS-13: report

State Dept warned DHS not to end protected status for some immigrants, saying it would strengthen MS-13: report
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State Department experts warned the Trump administration in October against ending temporary protected status (TPS) for thousands of Central American immigrants, fearing it could exacerbate gang activity, according to a new report.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has since ended protected status for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and others, ignoring the recommendations of then-Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo working to rebuild ties with US diplomats: report NYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story MORE and other top officials.

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An internal report obtained by CNN argued that ending the protected status could increase illegal immigration, driving up the possibility that immigrants would become involved in gangs such as MS-13 and “other illicit employment." 

Trump has repeatedly invoked gang violence, specifically from MS-13, to tout the importance of increased border security and crackdowns on immigration.

Homeland Security ending TPS for immigrants from countries suffering civil unrest or natural disasters is a departure from past administrations, which extended the protections about every two years.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFEMA head to reimburse government for use of federal vehicles: report US to prioritize attacks against foreign adversaries under new cyber strategy Paddlers sue Trump over frequent golf visits shutting down the Potomac River MORE argued that the law “restricts [her] ability to extend TPS,” despite State Department career experts saying in the document that ending the protections would not align with U.S. interests, regardless of the law.

The State Department also recommended giving immigrants a 36-month “wind down” period before ending the program, though Tillerson himself recommended the 18 months that Nielsen implemented.

Tillerson warned in a letter to DHS accompanying the report that revoking TPS could prompt Central American countries to take retaliatory action against the U.S.

The State Department and DHS did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap MORE (D-N.J.), whose office shared the internal documents with CNN after they were obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, is now calling for Trump to reverse the decision.

“[The Trump administration] knowingly putting our national security and the safety of TPS beneficiaries and U.S.-citizen children at risk," Menendez said in a statement.