Two devastating earthquakes hit El Salvador in January and February 2001, causing the deaths of more than 1,200 people, severely damaging over 185,000 homes, completely destroying over 150,000 homes and costing the small country $1.6million.
In response to the crisis, the 2001 Bush Administration added Salvadorans to the Temporary Protected Status program, which allows them to live and work legally in the United States if they reapply every 18 months for a $50 fee. Bush renewed the program in his second term and Obama as well renewed TPS through both his terms.
Yesterday, and after 16 years, Attorney General Jeff Sessions canceled the program and gave more than 250,000 Salvadoran under the program– who for the past two decades have worked, invested, paid taxes, started families and grew communities –until September 9, 2019 to obtain permanent residency or citizenship. If they are unable to do so, because of the cost or because if at the end they simply aren’t selected in time they will be deported and a multitude of U.S. families and communities will be shattered. For El Salvador, this means aggravating the process of a country currently reeling from extremely high rates of unemployment, violence, inequality and economic uncertainty. The 200,000 U.S. born children of the recipients need to be 21 years old before they can sponsor their parent(s). One is left to wonder whether Sessions doesn’t realize or doesn’t care about the negative economic and social impacts this decision to end TPS for over 300,000 international immigrants not only from El Salvador but from Hati, South Sudan, Syria and other countries will directly and abruptly have on the United States.
The following comes from The Intercept:
“The Trump administration has been more than willing to point to the existence of groups like MS-13 as justification for an immigration crackdown that includes the targeting of virtually all of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. At the same time, however, the threat that those criminal groups would pose to individuals returned to El Salvador — individuals who have raised families in the U.S. and contributed to society and the American economy — apparently mattered little in the TPS deliberations.”
Read the Full Article here.
VOICES denounces the AG’s decision and stays committed to working closely with our local Salvadoran partners as they prepare their communities for the effects of this policy change.
¿Estás afectado? Manténgase actualizado con el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional.