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Salvadorans to lose protected status in the US

Salvadorans to lose protected status in the US

Immigrant rights advocates argue that it would be wrong for the U.S.to send Salvadorans back to a country with one of the worst homicide rates in the world, particularly when many have USA citizen children who could be targets for gangs if they go with their parents.

The Trump administration will not extend the Temporary Protected Status program, which has allowed almost 200,000 Salvadorans to stay in the US legally, according to a report Monday.

Salvadorans, whose country was struck by a pair of major earthquakes, will have until September 2019 to leave or obtain other legal options to stay in the United States, according to the Washington Post.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that circumstances resulting from the 2001 earthquakes 'no longer exist, ' senior White House administration officials said on a press call Monday about the program's termination. The U.S. has been deporting tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to El Salvador over the last few years, which she concluded means the country is prepared to welcome back its citizens. Congressional Research Service puts the number of Salvadoran TPS recipients at about 260,000, but other experts say it is closer to 200,000 because some have gotten other immigration relief or left the country.

In November, Nielsen's predecessor, acting Secretary Elaine Duke, ended the protection for Haitians, requiring about 50,000 to leave or adjust their legal status by July 22, 2019, and for Nicaraguans, giving about 2,500 until January 5, 2019.

The Salvadoran immigrants who see their protected status expire will be forced to confront a complex web of federal immigration policy, and have very few options to remain in the United States.

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

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 U.S. whose home countries have been affected by disasters. In its latest designation, the United States granted TPS to Salvadorans in 2001 after two earthquakes hit the country that year.

Patrick Young, program director at the nonprofit Central American Refugee Center in Hempstead and Brentwood, said prior administrations had considered "the conditions of chaotic violence in El Salvador" when they extended TPS. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced a Monday deadline to decide whether to grant another extension.

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

The benefit, which includes work authorization, can be renewed up to 18 months at a time by the Homeland Security secretary. 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. She delayed a decision affecting more than 50,000 Hondurans, foisting the decision onto Nielsen. Still, that doesn't make it any easier for the 51-year-old Los Angeles-area man who works in building maintenance and has two American-born children.

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