Trump Could Order 200,000 Salvadorans Out of the U.S.
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Trump Could Order 200,000 Salvadorans Out of the U.S.

First, He Sent Away the Haitians and the Sudanese

Nearly 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador will learn in January if they can stay in our country or if the Trump administration will send them back to a country with high unemployment and one of the world’s highest murder rates.

The Trump administration has ended Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from countries suffering from political problems or natural disasters such as Haiti and Sudan. The program started in 1990 under former President George H.W. Bush.

“These are folks that have been in this country for years,” said Armando Carmona, a spokesperson for the National TPS Alliance. “Some have been here for almost two decades. They work here, they’ve built families here. They have U.S. citizen children.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sponsored a bill, S.2144, that would make immigrants under Temporary Protected Status eligible to apply for legal permanent residency after three years.

ACTION BOX/What You Can Do About It

Call Elaine Duke, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security at 202-282-8000 or write her at Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20528.

Contact your senators.

“This legislation is very simple,” Van Hollen said. “It says we should not be deporting these individuals who are contributing so much to our country to places that are dangerous and will put their lives at risk.”

Immigrants from countries designated for Temporary Protected Status may apply for TPS if they entered the U.S. without authorization or entered on a temporary visa that has expired. They must meet criminal-record requirements that include not being convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors while in the U.S. or been engaged in persecuting others or terrorism.

In 2001, El Salvador was granted Temporary Protected Status because of two earthquakes that killed at least 1,100 people and caused more than $2.8 billion in damage, more than half the country’s annual budget. There are about 195,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. under the temporary program.

About a third of Salvadoran households in our country through the TPS program have mortgages. About 83% live above the poverty level, and they have 192,700 children who were born in our country. About 13% who are 18 and older have some college or a degree.

Ending TPS for participants from El Salvador could force them to return to a country that can’t safely reintegrate them. The homicide rate last year was 81 per 100,000 people.

“Immigrants who hold TPS are deeply embedded, long-time members of their communities,” said Nicole Svajlenka, a senior immigration policy analyst at the Center for American Progress. “They are homeowners and parents to U.S. citizens, they contribute to the economy, and they provide critical financial support to assist recovery and stability in their home countries.”

The 1.2 million people born in El Salvador who now live in our country sent home $4.6 billion last year or about 17% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. These remittances lift families in El Salvador out of extreme poverty.

Twenty-six senators asked the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department in July to extend Temporary Protected Status of residents in our country.

“Deporting TPS holders back to their home countries would cost billions in taxpayer dollars and would result in several billions in lost tax revenue and economic growth over the next decade,” the senators wrote.

 

November 27, 2017