DHS Ends Protected Immigration Status for El Salvador

Hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans to lose work authorization by September 2019

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer January 8, 2018
DHS Ends Protected Immigration Status for El Salvador

​Around 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States under a protected immigration status will lose their work authorization and be asked to change their status or leave the country by September 2019.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for immigrants of El Salvador, nearly two decades after the program was initiated.

Congress created TPS in 1990 to offer foreign nationals temporary permission to live and work in the U.S., instead of being returned to countries that are deemed unsafe after natural disasters, armed conflict or other emergency situations. Salvadorans were provided the provisional status and protected from deportation after earthquakes hit the country in 2001, and their protected status has been routinely renewed ever since.

Salvadorans with TPS will need to re-register for the status and apply for employment authorization documents to be able to continue to legally work in the U.S. Those documents will expire Sept. 9, 2019, according to the announcement.

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DHS: Conditions Have Improved

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since 2001, ending the original justification for the protection. Trump administration officials have argued that TPS is supposed to provide a temporary haven, not a permanent status in the United States.

(The Washington Post)

Congress Asked to Act

Many, including DHS itself, have asked Congress to come up with a permanent legislative solution providing people with TPS an opportunity to apply to become permanent U.S. residents.


El Salvador Latest—and Largest—TPS Phase Out

The Trump administration has faced a series of deadlines over the past year to decide whether to end the protected status of immigrants under the TPS designation. The decision comes weeks after about 50,000 Haitians, the second largest group under TPS after Salvadorans, lost protections granted after Haiti's 2010 earthquake. Nicaraguans lost their protections last year.

Altogether, 250,000 people who previously had permission to live and work in the United States will, over the course of the next two years, lose those protections and be open to deportation if they choose to stay in the country.

(SHRM Online)

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