Washington, DC, USA : The Department of Homeland Security, on Monday, announced an end to the temporary immigration status that has let 200,000 Salvadorans live in the US according to multiple news outlets. Salvadorans will have until September 2019 to leave the United States or adjust their legal status.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced a Monday deadline whether to grant an extension.
According to a Department of Homeland Security announcement sent to lawmakers Monday morning, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that conditions in El Salvador had improved significantly enough to end the Salvadorans’ deportation protection.
The statement noted that the administration will delay the TPS termination 18 months to allow Congress time to “craft a potential legislative solution.”
People who live in the U.S. under the TPS program have done so under a series of 18-month extensions that have rendered it semi-permanent — a condition that has been welcomed by immigrants and criticized by those who want to see a strict overhaul of U.S. border controls.
To maintain their work authorization, TPS immigrants pay hundreds of dollars in fees for permits every 18 months. The U.S. government says Salvadorans with TPS must register one more time if they want to keep working through the fall of 2019, but it added that it wasn’t yet announcing the final re-registration period.
In the news release about its decision, Homeland Security said that Salvadorans should use the 18-month delay to either leave the U.S. or “seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible.”
The Temporary Protected Status designation, gives legal immigration status to people from countries impacted by natural disasters.
Secretary Of State, Rex Tillerson, and other US officials have said the conditions caused by the earthquakes that led to TPS for Salvadorans no longer exist.
Hondurans and Nicaraguans were given the protected status in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
El Salvador originally got its protected status following two separate earthquakes in 2001. Salvadorans are by far the largest group with protected status.
In November, DHS ended protected status for about 60,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans, but postponed a decision on 57,000 Hondurans. TPS for Haitians expires Jan. 22, 2018, and for Salvadorans, March 9, 2018.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paved the way for TPS to be withdrawn for Central Americans and Haitians by sending a letter to DHS stating that conditions in those countries had improved to the point that people no longer needed protection.
TPS allowed over 50,000 Haitians to stay in the United States after Haiti was ravaged by an earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and obliterated the economy in 2010. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said they now have until July 22, 2019 to obtain another legal immigration status or return to Haiti.
On Nov. 6, DHS announced an end to TPS for Nicaraguans who received the status after Hurricane Mitch decimated the country in 1999. The immigration status had been extended numerous times by both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.
The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation, senior Trump administration officials said on November 6th.
The TPS for thousands of Nicaraguans was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2018, but it was delayed by 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.”
In the case of Nicaragua, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke decided the conditions caused by Hurricane Mitch “no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.
For Honduras, Duke concluded that the DHS needed more time and information to make a determination, so the current TPS designation was extended for six months to July 5, 2018.
The program was enacted by Congress in 1990 to protect immigrants fleeing war or natural disasters.
Meanwhile, three members of Congress are reportedly preparing legislation that would allow every TPS recipient to apply for permanent residency.
The bill, dubbed the ASPIRE Act, would let every person covered by TPS before Jan. 1, 2017, apply for permanent residency by proving before a judge that they would face extreme hardship if forced to return home.
In May 2017, TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired and Trump did not renew it. Other TPS designations up for renewal under President Trump which have also been terminated, include for Sudan, Haiti and Nicaragua.
The TPS designation for Hondurans was automatically extended for six months.
The other countries with TPS designations are Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.