The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirmed today that it’s ending Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. They now have to either leave the country or face deportation.
“The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute,” read the Department of Homeland Security’s statement. “Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.”
The Trump administration’s latest battle against immigrants and their advocates brought the ire of politicians and union leaders such as 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa.
“The new year has brought yet another heartless decision by the Trump administration to destroy the lives of immigrants and their American children,” said Figueroa in a statement. “The Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for El Salvador stands out as among the most cruel to date in the onslaught of assaults to immigrant communities. Deporting hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents back to the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere is not just an affront to American values, but a near-homicidal act.”
According to 32BJ SEIU, an estimated 30 percent of TPS holders are homeowners and 11 percent have their own businesses. The largest group of people covered under TPS, Salvadorans in the United States are also parents to 192,000 children who are citizens.
“My husband and I will lose our TPS permits and I am afraid of what will happen to the home we bought over a decade ago and most of all I worry about my U.S.-born son, who is still a minor,” said Minda Hernández, a 32BJ member who has had TPS since 2001, in a statement. “Now that DHS is ending TPS it’s time for Congress to act so we can continue to raise our families and contribute to our communities.”
Salvadorans are at least the third group of people from another country to lose protected status under the Trump administration. Haitians and Nicaraguans lost their protected status in November. Homeland Security officials said that Salvadorans will have 18 months to either prepare for their departure or seek an “alternative lawful immigration status” in the United States.
“The 18 months will also provide time for El Salvador to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens,” read the Department of Homeland Security’s statement. “During this timeframe, DHS will work with the Department of State and the Government of El Salvador to help educate relevant stakeholders and facilitate an orderly transition.”
Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, took shots at Trump and referenced a recent tweet of his refuting criticism from the book “The Fire and The Fury.”
“Having been informed by Donald Trump on Saturday that he is a ‘stable genius,’ we all learned today that apparently the resident horses in that stable all wear blinders,” said Saenz in a statement. “There is no other explanation for Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen’s decision to end Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from El Salvador.”
Saenz said referencing the 2001 earthquake without considering any other dangerous condition not in relation to the earthquake is “life-threateningly dangerous.”