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Temporary Protection Status for Salvadorans to End

January 11, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez

Citizens of El Salvador, as well as Honduras, and Haiti, have little time before their TPS protections end.

The 200,000 citizens of El Salvador who have lived in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) given by the United States Government are now dealing with an uncertain future, this after the Trump administration said it will not renew the designation which has been in place for 17 years.

TPS projections offer eligible citizens of selected nations a legal avenue to remain in the United States, as well as worker authorization for legal employment. However, TPS does not allow for a legal pathway for a permanent immigration status.

For Salvadorans TPS protections have been in place since 2001, when two major earthquakes rocked the Central American nation. Under the original TPS protection, citizens of El Salvador had an 18 month period before returning to their home country but the protections have been continuously extended by every presidential administration.

U.S.-backed military interventions in El Salvador and socioeconomic instability in the 80s and 90s drove many Salvadorans to seek refuge in the United States, oftentimes migrating illegally.

TPS beneficiaries have to pay hundreds in fees to obtain an 18-month permit to be legally authorized to work and live in the United States under program protections.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced that TPS protections will be extended for a final 18-month period, until Sept. 9, 2019, this in order to have a “smooth transition.”

In a press release, Homeland Security said that citizens of El Salvador should use this final 18-month period to find a lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible.

While the problems stemming directly from the 2001 earthquakes have been resolved, El Salvador is still a country facing crushing poverty and high criminal gang activity, both of which can be traced to U.S.-backed civil war.

The end of TPS will impact the economy of El Salvador, as remittances to this nation are at an all time high and account for 2 percent of the nation’s GDP. According to an NPR report, the average Salvadoran sends $4,300 in remittances every year.

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