Trump Administration Ends Protected Status for 200,000 El Salvadoran Immigrants

January 8, 2018

According to a new report issued by the Trump Administration on January 8, 2018, a program that has allowed native El Salvadorans to live in the U.S. under temporary protected status (TPS) is coming to an end. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen has declared the TPS program will end for El Salvadorans on Sept. 9, 2019. This is to give El Salvadorans time to prepare for the transition. Any Salvadoran TPS recipient will have to leave the country by that date, or fall out of status, subjecting them to detention and deportation, unless they have some other way to gain legal status. It is important that all TPS recipients start now looking into any other options they may have to stay legally in the U.S. in order to avoid this fate. The program was put in place by President George W. Bush. It gave TPS to El Salvadorans who needed help after earthquakes rocked the country in 2001. People who have been protected for almost 2 decades would need to either return to El Salvador or meet with immigration attorneys to help them gain documented status. NPR reporter Carrie Kahn notes that:

The vast majority of [Salvadorans] that were here in the country living illegally at the time had fled in the 1980s and '90s, during the decades of the U.S.-backed civil war in the country and unrest there.

This also follows a revocation of TPS for both Nicaraguans and Haitians which have happened over the course of 2017 and 2018. It is expected this new revocation will affect up to 200,000+ people living in the U.S.Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén has called Secretary Nielsen to appeal to extend TPS for immigrants still living in the U.S. This plea is also echoed by many immigrant advocacy organizations in the U.S. and even the United States Chamber of Commerce. Until the Trump Administration, previous presidents had continued to extend the protections for El Salvadorans. The country was (and is) still unsafe due to drought, poverty, and extreme gang violence. El Salvador is also home to some of the world's highest homicide rates. Temporary protected status was created under President George Bush in 1990. The TPS program provided work authorization for anyone who entered the U.S. (legally or otherwise) from a country plagued by a natural disaster, armed conflict, or some other issue. Per requirements, applicants were required to renew their TPS every 18 months. As of this writing, 437,000 people from 10 countries use the protections offer by the TPS program. According to the Washington Post, the Trump Administration is dedicated to ending TPS protections across the board "as a matter of principle." If you will be affected by this, don't hesitate to get representation. You may have other options to gain legal status so you do not have to go back to El Salvador. Talk to a knowledgeable immigration attorney to explore what options you might have. The immigration attorneys at Salmon-Haas are ready to help you.

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