Washington, January 8, 2018 – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the United States for decades. The following is a statement from Jill Welch, Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
“Although TPS will not expire until September 9, 2019, the impact on individuals, their families and communities will be felt immediately. This decision represents yet another assault on families who are deeply rooted in the United States and exposes more people to deportation, irrespective of the conditions they may face in their country of origin or their contributions to the United States. Experts agree the reality is that El Salvador cannot handle the return of hundreds of thousands of its citizens given the country’s violence, narcotics trafficking and the inability of El Salvador’s weak government institutions to accommodate a massive influx of people, which is one of the reasons Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez requested the United States extend TPS for Salvadorans.
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s decision to revoke TPS for Salvadorans and other nationalities, alongside the decision to end the DACA program, represents an anti-immigrant sentiment that goes against what America stands for as a land of freedom, equality and justice for all. Through no fault of their own, these individuals had to flee life-threatening circumstances in order to come to the United States, and they have been contributing to our communities. Immigration status involves many complex factors that are compounded over time, and our laws have not been updated to reflect the need to adjust status for vulnerable individuals, like many of the Salvadorans with TPS, who have had no legal pathway to transition to permanent legal status. The exploitation of those vulnerabilities forces people to return to a country that cannot support their re-entry and to leave their families, their homes and their livelihoods behind.”