The announcement that the administration will end temporary protected status, or TPS, for natives of El Salvador, comes after it did the same for about 50,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans, and hinted it may soon eliminate protections for about 57,000 Hondurans.
In 2016, the Obama administration determined that conditions in El Salvador remained unsafe for the return of residents covered under the TPS program.
The DHS stated, "Additionally, in recent years, the US government has been repatriating individuals back to El Salvador - more than 39,000 in the last two years -demonstrating that the temporary inability of El Salvador to adequately return their nationals after the quake has been addressed".
Monday is the deadline for deciding the future of a protected status for nationals of El Salvador, and the Department of Homeland Security is widely expected to announce an end to the program, which has offered work permits and the right to live in the United States.
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.
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The DHS will delay termination of TPS for a period of 18 months, which, the DHS says, will "provide time for individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible". Of those Salvadorans, analysts say some 200,000 could face ouster without renewed TPS.
DHS has made an effort to emphasize that TPS depends on the original reason for the designation, not current conditions. If forced to return to El Salvador, mothers, fathers, and children could face extortion, kidnapping, coerced service to gangs, and sexual violence. It does not necessitate that applicants be legal immigrants to the United States. "A lot of them see themselves much more as American citizens than Salvadoran citizens and to end that protection and program is going to disrupt many communities across the United States", Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, said on CNN Monday. The decision was criticized by Republican and Democratic lawmakers from Florida.
She explained that El Salvador has received significant global aid and that much of the country's infrastructure is rebuilt.
"We can deal with diversity visa, if we pair it with TPS, doing some kind of reallocation visas there", Flake told reporters on Friday.