The Trump administration is ending the legal status of almost 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the United States since a series of earthquakes devastated the country in 2001. These Salvadorans entered the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status program, which is designed for people whose home countries are hit by disasters such as civil war, epidemics, and storms. Their status has been renewed on an 18-month basis since then, but the Department of Homeland Security has now decided to allow their protections to expire on September 9th, 2019. After that, Salvadoran TPS-holders will be open to deportation.
Immigrant advocates worry that terminating Salvadorans' TPS will break families apart. More than 190,000 citizen children have been born to Salvadoran TPS-holders, Pacific Standard reported last week. Might a pathway to American citizenship open for these folks? That's up to the legislature. "Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those currently protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years. The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution," reads the DHS announcement.
"If TPS were to expire, it would criminalize thousands of current legal workers in major cities and industries overnight," Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Workers Union, told Pacific Standard last week.