(ESPAÑOL) The Trump administration has until today to decide the fate of more than 260,000 Salvadorans who live in the United States under “temporary protected status,” or TPS.
Salvadorans make up the biggest portion of TPS beneficiaries. And California is home to the most TPS holders from El Salvador — 49,100 people, according to a 2017 report from the Center for Migration Studies. Roughly 30,000 of those live in Los Angeles.
For months, administration officials have signaled their intention to end special designations that have allowed immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally from El Salvador and nine other troubled nations to stay and work in the U.S. The protections were intended to provide temporary respites for citizens of hard-hit countries, not permanent legal status in the U.S., officials note.
The administration already eliminated TPS for 5,300 Nicaraguans, effective January 2019, and nearly 60,000 Haitians, effective July 2019. At the same time, officials put off making a decision on the fate of 86,000 Hondurans, saying they needed six months to gather information about conditions there.
Officials have repeatedly invited Congress to pass a law that would create a permanent solution for the recipients of temporary status. Congress members have introduced four bills aimed at preserving the program and providing a path to residency for those who currently hold protected status.
Many Salvadorans have lived in the U.S. for more than two decades, having arrived as children and now having U.S. citizen children of their own, according to the Center for Migration Studies. The vast majority are employed and live above the poverty level. A third hold mortgages.
Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said Salvadorans would not voluntarily return to a dangerous, unstable country. But he wonders how long they would be able to remain in the U.S. without legal status, given that the federal government already knows their home addresses and workplaces.
“It’s a very intense situation,” he said. “These are well-established people. TPS is actually a program that has facilitated the integration of these immigrants.”