‘Leave Or Be Deported’: Trump Ends Immigration Protection For 260K Salvadorans
The Trump administration has announced that it would end the protected status that allows 262,500 immigrants from El Salvador to stay in the country, forcing those people to either leave the country or be deported.
The dramatic announcement means that hundreds of thousands of people under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who have established their lives, families, and businesses in the U.S. will be forced to leave or can be rounded up and deported.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus immigration taskforce, said the decision would uproot people who’ve lived in the United States for decades.
“Turning immigrants living and working legally in the U.S. into undocumented immigrants defies logic, even for this President,”
Gutiérrez said, according to The Hill.
Between all TPS cuts and the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Trump administration has ended immigration benefits for nearly 1 million people in less than a year.
The Salvadorans affected by the order have been in the United States since at least 2001, when TPS status was granted after two devastating earthquakes ravaged the country.
TPS benefits are awarded to foreign citizens residing in the United States whose home countries undergo devastating natural or man-made disasters, making a return dangerous or unsustainable.
El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, host to persistent gang-based violence despite government efforts to quell criminal groups like MS-13.
It’s also one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere, with a per-capital gross domestic product of around $4,200, despite consistent growth since the 1990s.
According to a report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Council, deporting Salvadoran TPS holders would cost $1.8 billion and lead to a GDP reduction of $3.9 billion and $4.8 billion in lost Social Security and Medicare contributions over the next decade.
Administration officials said they didn’t “have handy” the number of U.S. citizens born to Salvadoran TPS holders, but said the administration has no policy as to whether those U.S. minors should remain in the United States or go with their parents to El Salvador.
“We’re not getting involved in individual family decisions,” said the official.
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the 18-month delay would allow for Salvadoran citizens to arrange their departure and for El Salvador to prepare for their arrival.
House Democrats who’d previously fought for legislation to give permanent status to TPS holders said they’d retake the issue.
“America is better than this and I will do all I can in the next 18 months to fight this terrible decision and work with my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to help regularize the residency status of long-term TPS holders,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass).