Outrage as Trump administration ends temporary protected status for 260k Salvadorans

Saul Bowman
January 9, 2018

Almost 200,000 Salvadorans will be forced to leave the US.

Termination of the Salvadorans' temporary protected status will take effect September 9, 2019, to give them time to leave or seek lawful residency, and for El Salvador to prepare for their return, officials said.

They have enjoyed special protection since earthquakes struck the Central American country in 2001, and many have established deep roots in the US, starting families and businesses. "Schools and hospitals damaged by the earthquakes have been reconstructed and repaired, homes have been rebuilt, and money has been provided for water and sanitation and to fix natural disaster damaged roads and other infrastructure", a news release from the DHS said. There are more than 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants with the status in the United States, including more than 36,000 in Texas, according to the Center for American Progress.

About 100,000 Hondurans, Haitians and Nicaraguans are protected by TPS - which is less than half the 262,500 Salvadorans protected by TPS.

Groups on the right that advocate for restricting immigration are pressing the Homeland Security Department to end the status for El Salvador, and were concerned during Nielsen's confirmation that she would be adequately hard-line in implementing President Donald Trump's immigration agenda. In its latest designation, the United States granted TPS to Salvadorans in 2001 after two earthquakes hit the country that year. Many TPS holders send money back to their home countries, boosting those economies, for example. Temporary in nature, the status has been extended in roughly 18-month increments by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

"Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those now protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years", the announcement stated.

The administration will notify the Salvadorans they have until September 9, 2019 to leave the United States or find a new way to obtain legal residency, according to a copy of the announcement prepared by the Department of Homeland Security that will be published Monday morning...

Two U.S. officials discussed the decision on condition of anonymity with The Associated Press because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement.

The country's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez, said Monday's decision underscored a need for Congress to act before September 2019.

Congressional Democrats are already moving to try to create a new pathway to citizenship for TPS holders, giving them an official way to remain in the USA permanently, as part of ongoing discussions over the fate of so-called Dreamers, another category of sympathetic illegal immigrants. The ongoing turf war between the MS-13 and 18th Street gangs, as well as the Salvadoran government's attempt to quell that violence, has kept the country's homicide rate among the highest in the world.

The pending deadline marks the first major immigration decision that will fall to Nielsen, who has thus far pledged to carry on the legacy of her predecessor and former boss, John Kelly, who is now White House chief of staff.

Last year, the Trump administration extended status for South Sudan and ended it for Sudan.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article