HIAS Denounces End of TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans

SILVER SPRING, Md.—On Monday, January 8, the Trump Administration announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for recipients from El Salvador. TPS allows U.S. resident foreign nationals to remain and work in the United States if they come from countries that have been afflicted by natural disasters or armed conflict.  Salvadorans were originally protected by TPS after major earthquakes in El Salvador in 2001, affecting more than 1.3 million residents.

The latest in a series of TPS terminations by this Administration, it is also the largest, affecting nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, over half of whom have called the U.S. home for over 20 years. Ending TPS strips legal status and work authorizations for TPS holders. Salvadorans must now self-deport by September 9, 2019 or risk a life of fear in the United States as undocumented immigrants subject to detention and deportation.

In response to the decision, Melanie Nezer, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, stated:

“As a Maryland-based organization, HIAS is especially dismayed at this decision. Salvadorans are integral members of our community and many have been here for decades. Forcing them to make a decision between extreme poverty and violence in El Salvador or living a life of fear in the U.S. is evidence of this Administration’s complete abandonment of America’s legacy of fairness and humanity towards immigrants and refugees. Congress must act to provide a path to permanent legal status for our Salvadoran friends and neighbors.”

El Salvador is ill-equipped to handle hundreds of thousands of returning residents and would struggle to provide education, jobs, and medical care. Some 17% of El Salvador's gross domestic product is comprised of remittances from Salvadorans living and working abroad.

If forcibly returned, Salvadorans will face high levels of gang and cartel related violence and extortion, factors which continue to force Central Americans to flee their countries in order to find safety.  Women and girls are especially at risk in El Salvador; more than half of all Salvadoran women report sexual or physical violence.  Transnational cartels routinely use kidnapping and rape to control the Salvadoran public and police are unable to fight and prosecute crime.  


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