In a major attack against immigrant communities in the United States, the Trump administration has announced it is ending temporary protected status for up to 250,000 Salvadorans who have been living in U.S. since at least 2001. The temporary protected status, known as TPS, gives the Salvadorans legal permission to live and work in the United States. It was enacted in 2001, after a devastating pair of earthquakes hit El Salvador. The announcement sparked immediate protests at the White House and a press conference in New York City. This is Salvadoran TPS recipient Urania Reyes speaking in New York City.
Urania Reyes: “We are begging to our President Trump and to the public to stand up and ask for our permanent—not temporary—legalization. We have been in the U.S. for more than 20 years, and they didn’t give us any permanent status. I think we are honorable people. We do the work other people don’t want to do. We earn very little money. We pay for housing and taxes and school for the children—for my three children—and they go to the school. And today I feel very sad, because they want to take the TPS from us.”
The Salvadorans will now have 18 months to leave the U.S. or find a legal way to remain in the country. The move will also affect nearly 200,000 children of Salvadoran parents who have TPS. These children are U.S. citizens. On Monday, many immigration advocates expressed concern the United States is planning to deport the Salvadorans back to a country gripped by violence and poverty, which has been exacerbated and fueled by decades of U.S. military and economic intervention in El Salvador and Central America. This is community organizer Sara Ramirez speaking at a protest outside the White House on Monday.
Sara Ramirez: “Never will a physical wall stop migration, because the basis of our coming to this country is not because we thought it would be fun or because we just wanted to. It is because of situations in our countries that were historically provoked—not by us—that forced us to migrate.”
Last year, the Trump administration announced it is also ending temporary protected status for tens of thousands of Haitian, Nicaraguan and Sudanese immigrants living in the United States. We’ll have more on the Trump administration’s TPS announcement after headlines.