Homeland Security officials have been prompted to end the humanitarian program known as Temporary Protected Status during one of the Trump Administration's latest efforts to reform immigration policies, the New York Times reports. This latest reversal of temporary status will will affect nearly 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living and working legally in the U.S. after immigrating in 2001, when their country was devastated by two earthquakes.
This latest repeal marks the third time the Trump Administration has ended Temporary Protected Status for a group of immigrants; the previous times affecting Haitians and Nicaraguans. The Department of Homeland Security is insisting that because damaged roads, schools, hospitals, homes and water systems have been repaired in the years since the initial earthquakes, that the action is justified. “The secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current T.P.S. designation must be terminated," the department stated.
The Temporary Protected Status program was initially established by President George Bush in 1990 in order to provide temporary, lawful status and work authorization for people entering the U.S. who were looking to escape countries affected by natural disasters or armed conflict.
The Department of Homeland Security can also designate which countries should receive a renewal of the Temporary Protected Status, and can extend the protection for 6 to 18 months. Many immigrant advocates had succeeded in convincing the department to renew Salvadorans' status in the past, but now, any chance of renewing this status seems to be out of the question. Salvadorans remain the largest group affected by the Temporary Protected Status, and now that their access to the protection has been revoked, many families living and working in places like California, Texas and Virginia must either live in fear of being deported or be separated from their U.S.-born children. This act of immigration "reform" is just the latest in a string of devastating decisions enacted under Donald Trump's presidency.