In a move that is consistent with its stance on immigrants, The Trump administration just ended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Salvadorans who were permitted to enter and live in the United States following devastating earthquakes and civil unrest in their native El Salvador.
Per an announcement issued today (January 8) from the Department of Homeland Security, the administration will give impacted Salvadoran nationals until September 9, 2019 to either leave the country or otherwise obtain legal residency. The estimated 195,000 immigrants have been living in U.S. since at least February 13, 2001. According to the statement, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen concluded that conditions in El Salvador have improved enough for Salvadoran nationals to return.
The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.
This move comes after the administration ended TPS for 60,000 Haitians and 2,550 Nicaraguans in November. Then-acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke extended TPS protection for 57,000 Hondurans in the same month.
In an emailed statement, Amanda Baran, author of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s report “Economic Contributions by Salvadoran, Honduran and Haitian TPS Holders,” said the move is counterproductive:
To disregard the contributions that El Salvadorans have made in communities across this country by stamping an expiration date on their lives here is inhumane. Salvadoran TPS holders are our colleagues and neighbors, and the economic engines of our construction and service sectors. El Salvador is one of the world’s most dangerous countries and will be unable to absorb the return of these thousands of people whose lives are inextricably intertwined with those of ours here in the United States.
We are calling on Congress to immediately pass the American Promise Act of 2017 introduced by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), which will allow TPS beneficiaries from all thirteen participating countries who have lived in the United States for three years to continue to live and work here while they pursue a path to naturalization.