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Trump Admin to End Immigration Protection for 200K Salvadorans

09 January, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • 200,000 Salvadorans could lose US residency and face expulsion

However, her announcement prompted outrage similar to what greeted Trump's decision to end DACA, the Obama-era program for children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

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.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has decided that El Salvador has finally recovered enough from a 2001 quake that it can handle the return of its citizens, who had been allowed to remain in the U.S.by the Bush and Obama administrations under special Temporary Protected Status.

Nielsen, who faced a Monday deadline on another extension, determined El Salvador has received significant global aid to recover from the natural disaster and that homes, schools and hospitals there have been rebuilt. There are more than 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants with the status in the United States, including more than 36,000 in Texas, according to the Center for American Progress.

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.

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




Under President Donald Trump - who has boasted of his goal to reduce legal immigration - other TPS designations have also been halted, including for citizens of Sudan, Haiti, and Nicaragua, while the designation for Hondurans was automatically extended for six months.

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. Temporary in nature, the status has been extended in roughly 18-month increments by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

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 US under TPS were taking "jobs that might otherwise be filled by one of the 7.1 million unemployed Americans". Rep. Bennie Thompson, ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said it was "just the latest in a string of heartless, xenophobic actions from the Trump administration".

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, called on Congress to offer a permanent solution for current TPS holders and protect them from deportation. The decision was heavily criticized by immigrant advocates who said it ignored violence in El Salvador, which has one of the world's highest murder rates. Critics say it has proved anything but temporary - with many beneficiaries staying years after the initial justification. The the Haitian protections are due to expire on January 22.

The administration has been curtailing participation in the designation known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, over the a year ago, with Haitians and Nicaraguans most recently being told they will no longer be eligible.

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