Temporary Protected Status and the Salvadoran Community

By Marbella Trujillo ’19

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted by the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eligible individuals who cannot return to their birth country safely because of conditions or circumstances that can cause them harm. According to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, there are 10 countries under this program: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Recently, El Salvador has been at the center of the TPS debate. The U.S. granted Temporary Protection Status to Salvadorans after a series of terrifying and high magnitude earthquakes destroyed El Salvador in 2001. Since then, their permits have been renewed on an 18-month basis — but that will soon change.

According to DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, TPS for Salvadorans will end on September 9, 2019, stating that conditions that allowed people to leave from El Salvador 17 years ago are much better and are no longer applicable. “Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist,” the DHS statement read.

Since this announcement, hundreds of thousands of lives have been affected and many are preparing to leave the United States — a country that many have called home. According to DHS, 262,500 Salvadorans have received TPS permits. These individuals will have nearly two years to either leave the United States on their own or apply for a green card. However, because the U.S Immigration System is complex and slow, it will most likely take a long time to receive a green card.

Salvadorans currently make up a third of the Hispanic population in the United States. In Los Angeles, they are the second largest foreign born group. In fact, in Los Angeles the Salvadoran community has remained a large staple of LA. culture and is well involved and integrated in the city’s culture and economy.

Democrats, immigration advocates, and Salvadoran government officials have since condemned this decision. The Bamboo joins those who protest this decision by calling on DHS Secretary.


Photo courtesy of ElSalvador.com

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