Citizens and nationals of El Salvador who were in the United States (legally or illegally) when two major earthquakes hit that country in March of 2001 were granted the right to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. The idea was that the damage and disruption to living conditions made their country unable to adequately handle return of its nationals. Salvadoran TPS recipients were granted work permits and a temporary right to remain in the U.S., which rights were extended at various times over the years.
Now, however, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen has announced a decision to end TPS for people from El Salvador. This will not take effect right away, but will become effective 18 months from now, on September 9, 2019.
During the intervening time, current TPS recipients are expected to either find another legal basis upon which to remain in the U.S. or to make arrangements for departure. A few might, for example, be able to immigrate through family members (though family immigration is on the chopping block, according to Donald Trump) or asylum. Others will face certain deportation, however.
Nielsen also expressed hope that the delayed termination would allow Congress time to develop laws addressing the situation of Salvadorans who have, by now, been long-term residents of the United States.
Reports indicate that approximately 200,000 people with TPS status will be affected. Critics note that many will leave behind families, including U.S. citizen children, and jobs where they were contributing to the health of the U.S. economy.
In the short term, Salvadoran TPS recipients will need to renew their status and their work permits. Instructions from DHS on this are expected soon.
Effective Date: September 9, 2019