Trump administration ends protected status of 200000 Salvadorans in US

Trump administration ends protected status of 200000 Salvadorans in US

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.

The Salvadorans, who were granted temporary permits to live and work in the USA after a series of deadly earthquakes, could be deported if they don't leave the U.S.by September 9, 2019, said two senior administration officials who spoke to reporters Monday on condition of anonymity.

Termination of the Salvadorans' temporary protected status will take effect September 9, 2019, to give them time to leave or seek lawful residency, and for El Salvador to prepare for their return, officials said. 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.

The administration is granting an 18-month delay so that Salvadorans here under TPS can make arrangements to depart or can apply for other statuses if they qualify.

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 decision comes amid intensifying talks between the White House and Congress on an immigration package that may include protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who came to the country as children and were temporarily shielded from deportation under an Obama-era program.

TPS status should be extended until beneficiaries can safely return home and can successfully reintegrate into their home communities.

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Groups on the right that advocate for restricting immigration are pressing the Homeland Security Department to end the status for El Salvador, and were concerned during Nielsen's confirmation that she would be adequately hard-line in implementing President Donald Trump's immigration agenda.

Many Salvadoran immigrants here say they fear returning to their homeland because of the gangs, including MS-13, and not just because of their country's poverty and the destruction left by the 2001 earthquakes that led to the designation. Many TPS holders send money back to their home countries, boosting those economies, for example.

"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", said Roy Beck, the group's president.

The protection program has been recently criticized by Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said in an October 30 letter to the Department of Homeland Security that immigrants living in the USA under TPS were taking "jobs that might otherwise be filled by one of the 7.1 million unemployed Americans". This would put the expiration date of the TPS at September 9, 2019.

Nielsen said last week that short-term extensions are not the answer.

"It's sad, because it's the same story of family separation from that time, and now history repeats itself with my children", Zepeda said in Spanish.

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