Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Trump Admin to End Immigration Protection for 200K Salvadorans

Trump Admin to End Immigration Protection for 200K Salvadorans

Salvadorans will have until September 9, 2019, to leave the United States or adjust their legal status.

The move upends a status quo that has existed since 2001, when President George W. Bush extended temporary protected status to Salvadorans who were in the US, after major earthquakes devastated parts of El Salvador.

Supporters of restrictive immigration policies have long maintained that the application of TPS has been stretched too far.

Advocates for continuing TPS for El Salvador and other countries in Central America have argued that violence and political unrest make it unsafe for migrants to return. "Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated".

The U.S. created Temporary Protected Status in 1990 to provide a safe haven from countries affected by earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, war and other disasters, and it now shields almost 320,000 people from 10 countries.

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

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"There's a totality of circumstances in El Salvador that made it problematic to send people back", said Royce Bernstein Murray, policy director at the American Immigration Council.

The rationale for terminating the designation, according to the administration, was that El Salvador has recovered since the earthquakes, thanks in part to aid from the US government. That accounts for almost a fifth of El Salvador's GDP. "And the idea that we're going to try to drive them back to a country that is engulfed in weak governance and corruption and violence is unthinkable".

"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 Trump administration has faced a series of deadlines over the past year to decide whether to end the protected status of immigrants in the USA whose home countries have been affected by disasters. In November, then-Acting Sec. That move frustrated White House officials who wanted Duke to end the program. "Since 2001, these people have established themselves in the United States, making countless contributions to our society and our local communities". They must return home by July 2019.

There were new signs Monday that TPS could end up as a bargaining chip in a potential congressional immigration deal.

There were 262,500 people, mostly adults, under TPS across the United States as of October 2017, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that administers the TPS program.

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President Trump has railed against the diversity program, saying that any deal to provide legal status to the dreamers must get rid of it.

"The decision on El Salvador is particularly damaging", he said.

In 2016, the Obama administration determined that conditions in El Salvador remained unsafe for the return of residents covered under the TPS program.

El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren spoke by phone Friday with Nielsen to renew his plea to extend status for 190,000 Salvadorans and allow more time for Congress to deliver a long-term fix for them to stay in the U.S. Some TPS recipients may just choose to stay past the deadline, he said.

"They have families here".

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, speaks during a meeting with Republican Senators on immigration at the White House in Washington on January 4, 2018. "It's time for Congress to do the right thing".

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