Temporary Protection Status Terminated for Salvadoran and Haitian Immigrants

Haley Mickey, Staff Editor

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In 1990, the United States Congress created the Temporary Protection Program, a national program that allows immigrants to temporarily live in the U.S. because their home country is affected by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous circumstances.  Once a person becomes a part of this program, they can essentially live the same kind of life as any American citizen.  They receive social security numbers, can apply for a driver’s licenses, and maintain a stable job while living in the States. This protection status was approved for immigrants from El Salvador by President George W. Bush after two earthquakes in 2001 displaced thousands of Salvadorans.  This same protection was granted to Haitians in 2010, when a catastrophic earthquake killed anywhere from 220,000 to 300,000 people.  El Salvadorans are the largest group with Temporary Protection Status, with nearly 262,500 people in the program.  However, some of these beneficiaries will be losing their TPS status as of 2019.

The Trump Administration has stated that previous presidents have abused the TPS program by allowing it to stay in use for longer than necessary.  The Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, has said that El Salvador has greatly improved since earthquakes, so the TPS status is no longer necessary.  El Salvador’s gang violence and high homicide rates led thousands of Salvadorans to search for safety in the U.S.  Many advocates for the renewal of  El Salvador’s protection status believe that the country will not be able to handle the sudden influx of these immigrants.  One Salvadoran, Will, who moved to the U.S. when he was ten years old told CNN, “Bringing 200,000 people back after so many years, that’s only going to create more poverty, more violence and more crime.”  Another TPS beneficiary, Edwin Marrillo, said in an interview with The Washington Post that losing his TPS status “would be catastrophic for my family”.  Edwin, a father of two, has not seen his parents and siblings in almost twenty years, but they continue to rely on the $300 he sends to them each month.  But Edwin’s family warn him that El Salvador is not safe enough for Edwin to return with his family.  Immigration advocates warn that ending El Salvador’s TPS status say that the return of almost 3 percent of the country’s population could have destabilizing effects.

TPS beneficiaries in the U.S. also send millions of dollars back to their home country to help support their family members.  With over $4.5 billion being sent back home to families in El Salvador a year, these remittances actually account for a large portion of El Salvador’s gross domestic product.  The World Bank cites these remittances as the country’s largest single source of income, so the economic impact of the end of TPS for El Salvador is expected to be quite dramatic.  Advocates also bring up the point that these immigrants are the parents to an estimated 190,000 children who were born in the U.S. and are therefore U.S. citizens.  El Salvador’s Foreign Ministry has also stated that Salvadorans with TPS status, “have become important members of their communities in the United States, and their contributions are key to the development of that nation.”  Whether or not these TPS holders will be allowed to remain in the U.S. and obtain legal residency after their program has ended depends on specific requirements and special circumstances.  Immigrants from El Salvador and Haiti with TPS status have until March 19 to submit their renewal applications, and many of them anxiously await to find out if they will be able to continue living legally in the U.S.


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The Student News Site of Carterville High School
Temporary Protection Status Terminated for Salvadoran and Haitian Immigrants