US ending temporary residence for 200,000 Salvadorans
The Trump administration is ending the temporary residencies of 200,000 El Salvadorans who had been living in the U.S. for more than 15 years, following two devastating earthquakes that roiled their home country in 2001, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
The Salvadoran migrants will have until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the country, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security Secretary Kistjen Nielsen made the determination to end their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) based on "conditions on the ground", according to the agency.
"Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those currently protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years. The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution," the department said in a statement.
The country that they will be returning to has been locked in vicious conflict with street gangs, the most violent of which, MS-13, has been targeted by the Justice Department for a crackdown on its operations within the U.S.
Asked if the administration has taken ongoing gang violence in El Salvador into consideration when it decided to end the protections for Salvadorans, a senior administration official told reporters the conditions do not apply -- despite the program including criteria for those seeking refuge from armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
"We don't apply the general circumstance to that," he said, referring to gang violence.
Salvadorans are the largest group to be effected by the determination to end their protections, but they are not the first. Approximately 60,000 Haitians lost protections in November that were granted after a 2010 earthquake.
The removal of the temporary protections is part of a larger trend within the Donald Trump administration to overhaul the U.S.'s immigration practices.
Trump previously moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a Barack Obama-era policy that shielded from deportation children brought to the country illegally by their parents.
As with TPS, Trump punted the future of those affected to Congress. Lawmakers have until March to come up with a legislative fix for the nearly 790,000 "Dreamers". They face deportation without congressional action.
Asked what should happen to the children of TPS recipients who were born in the U.S., and thus have U.S. citizenship, after their parents' protections run out, the administration official who briefed reporters said "we're not getting involved in individual family decisions".
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