The Trump administration announced on Monday the cancellation of temporary residency permits that allowed 200,000 Salvadorans residency in the U.S. since at least 2001.
The announcement was sent to lawmakers by the Department of Homeland Security, and it leaves protected Salvadorans until September 9, 2019 to either leave the U.S. or obtain legal residency.
The Washington Post reports:
The Salvadorans were granted what is known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, after a series of earthquakes devastated the country in 2001.
According to the DHS statement sent to lawmakers, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since then, ending the original justification for the Salvadorans’ deportation protection.
“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 announcement states. “The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution.”
[…] The El Salvador TPS decision was the most momentous for the administration to make, because of the sheer number of people affected. The 200,000 are the parents of an estimated 190,000 U.S.-born children, according to recent studies, and about one-third are homeowners.
But Trump officials have consistently signaled that they viewed the TPS program as an example of American immigration policy gone awry, noting that when Congress created the TPS designation in 1990 its purpose was to provide “temporary” protection from deportation.
Monday’s announcement is the latest move by the White House in a process for phasing out Temporary Protection Status issued years ago.
The Trump administration sees temporary protection as just that. Once the conditions for which the protection was issued are long gone, it’s time to deport the temporary residents.
Armed conflicts, earthquakes, and other natural disasters may result in TPS. According to the USA Today, the Trump administration is busy removing TPS for 437,000 people from 10 countries.
In November, Homeland Security announced it would end TPS for 59,000 Haitians residing in the U.S.
The Haitians were offered temporary residency after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, but the DHS determined that disaster conditions no longer existed, so the Haitians must either return home by July 2019, or obtain another means legal residency in the US.
USA Today reported:
The Obama administration first granted “temporary protected status” to Haitians after the nation was ravaged by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. The protections have allowed Haitians to legally remain in the U.S. and have been extended each year as Haiti struggles to recover.
Elaine Duke, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security, made the decision that extraordinary temporary conditions on which the special protections were issued “no longer exist.”
Also in November, the TPS for some 2,500 Nicaraguans was phased out. The Nicaraguans were offered temporary residency after Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
Liberal advocate groups are furious over the decision, insisting that protection status ought to be permanent.
The Washington Post continues:
“The fix has been in for these TPS decisions, regardless of the facts on the ground in these countries,” said Kevin Appleby of the New York-based Center for Migration Studies.
“The decision on El Salvador is particularly damaging,” he said. “It not only will uproot families and children who have lived here for years, it also will further destabilize an already violent country. It is incredibly short-sighted and undermines our interest in a stable Central America.”
Immigrant advocate groups implored Nielsen to extend TPS for the Salvadorans, noting that the country is one of the world’s most violent. Money sent there by Salvadorans working in the United States is a pillar of the country’s economy.
Temporary Protection Status seemed to offer “temporary” protection from deportation only on paper.
The Trump administration intends to enforce TPS as it was intended when created by Congress.