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US to end special protections for Salvadoran immigrants

US to end special protections for Salvadoran immigrants”

The decision upset immigrant rights advocates who argue the TPS holders were allowed to live in the United States for about 17 years, have kids here, and build lives in the country.

WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration will tell about 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the USA for 17 years or more that they need to get out by September 2019 or face deportation, according to two news reports on Monday.

When the protections end, recipients revert to the status they have otherwise, which would likely leave a number of Salvadorans undocumented after almost two decades of legally working and living in the United States.

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that damage inflicted by a 2001 quake in the Central American country didn't justify another temporary extension.

Nielsen said the fact that over 39,000 Salvadorans have been repatriated over the past two years shows that "the temporary inability of El Salvador to adequately return their nationals after the quake has been addressed". It said the 18-month delay would give Congress time to develop a legislative change if it chooses, while also giving Salvadorans and their government time to prepare.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to end temporary legal status for about 200,000 Salvadorans, the Washington Post reports.

There were 262,500 people, mostly adults, under TPS across the United States as of October 2017, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that administers the TPS program.

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Since the 1990s, TPS has provided legal protections on a temporary basis for people fleeing dire conditions like war, violence, or natural disasters.

The administration of President Donald Trump on Monday terminated a program that shielded more than 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants from deportation.

Many Salvadoran immigrants here say they fear returning to their homeland because of the gangs, including MS-13, and not just because of their country's poverty and the destruction left by the 2001 earthquakes that led to the designation. The economy is in part based on people working in the United States and other countries sending money back to family and loved ones.

In September 2016, the Obama administration extended protections for 18 months, saying El Salvador suffered lingering harm from the 2001 earthquakes that killed more than 1,000 people and was temporarily unable to absorb such a large number of people.

The Department of Homeland Security is set to make a formal announcement on the decision later Monday.

Congressional Democrats are already moving to try to create a new pathway to citizenship for TPS holders, giving them an official way to remain in the USA permanently, as part of ongoing discussions over the fate of so-called Dreamers, another category of sympathetic illegal immigrants. 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".

Nielsen said last week that short-term extensions are not the answer. She delayed a decision affecting more than 50,000 Hondurans, foisting the decision onto Nielsen. 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. Other countries covered are Nepal, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.



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