262,500 immigrants from El Salvador will need to leave the US or be granted different legal status by September 9, 2019.
El Salvador gained TPS (Temporary Protected Status) in 2001 after the country suffered two devastating earthquakes. The status gave hundreds of thousands of Salvadoran civil war refugees who were in the U.S. legally or illegally to remain and work in the country.
The decision whether to retain or take back the TPS category of El Salvador was made by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, with input from the State Department. Senior administration officials, however, clarified that an “interagency review process” considered the current situation in El Salvador and its renewed ability to already take back its citizens when they decided the matter.
El Salvador remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world, host to persistent gang-based violence. Government efforts to stop criminal groups like MS-13 have failed.
El Salvador also remains one of the poorest countries in the region.
TPS benefits are only awarded to citizens residing in the U.S. whose home countries have been struck by natural or man-made huge disasters and are still recovering in the aftermath of such tragedies. The assumption or principle behind the TPS is that prevailing conditions in the devastated home countries would make it difficult for their citizens staying in the U.S. to return home.
A senior Trump administration official emphasized that following the 2001 earthquakes, El Salvador received millions of dollars in international aid. The same official also stressed that with the said aid, many reconstruction projects have been completed.
The Trump administration is also terminating the TPS category of Sudan, Haiti, and Nicaragua.