Trump Admin to End Immigration Protection for 200K Salvadorans



In a news release about its decision, Homeland Security said that Salvadorans should use the 18-month delay to either leave the US or "seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible".

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.

DHS is preparing to announce that Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has decided the conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since then, ending the original justification for the Salvadorans' deportation protection, these people said.

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

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"Anyone who knows anything about El Salvador knows that it has become one of the most unsafe countries in the world and you are now going to be deporting people who have lived in this country without any criminal background, for the last 20 years on average, to a country where their lives will be in grave danger", Young said.

Immigrant-rights advocates had heatedly fought to keep the Salvadorans here, arguing many of them have put down roots, including having some 200,000 children who, by dint of being born on USA soil, are already citizens. If forced to leave the country, they could face grave danger in El Salvador. That accounts for almost a fifth of El Salvador's GDP.

"The past practice of allowing foreign nationals to remain in the United States long after an initial emergency in their home countries has ended has undermined the integrity of the program and essentially made the "temporary" protected status a front operation for backdoor permanent immigration", Beck said. "Congress has a responsibility to act in the best interest of our nation by legislating a permanent solution that allows current TPS holders to contribute fully without fear of deportation".

TPS immigrants' home countries have often lobbied to maintain the status, in part because it smooths the process both of finding work in the US and of sending money back home. An estimated 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants have the protection, according to a November report by the Congressional Research Service. That move frustrated White House officials who wanted Duke to end the program. The decision was criticized by Republican and Democratic lawmakers from Florida.

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Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said he urged the Trump administration to "reconsider" the TPS decision.

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

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

Monday's pending announcement is in line with the Trump administration's wider goal of reducing legal immigration to the United States and increasing deportations, said Kevin Appleby of the New York-based Center for Migration Studies. They accused the administration of not only potentially separating thousands of parents from their children, but also forcing the Salvadorans to return to a county that's been considered one of the most violent in the world for several years.

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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.

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