January 9, 2018 — New York
AJC is urging the Trump Administration to reconsider its decision to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Salvadorans. Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans, who came to the United States after two devastating earthquakes struck their country in 2001, will be obligated to return to El Salvador by September 2019, according to the Department of Homeland Security directive.
“The inhumanity of ending TPS shamefully ignores the current dangerous conditions in El Salvador, and the contributions of Salvadorans to the communities in the U.S. where they live and work,” said Dina Siegel Vann, Director of AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs. “The TPS program itself is not a threat. It nobly reflects American values in providing safety for distinct populations until permanent solutions are found.”
The TPS program was established by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, to provide legal status and work authorization to people already in the U.S., whether they entered legally or not, from countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster or other strife.
In March 2001, President George W. Bush granted TPS for Salvadorans residing in the U.S. for an initial period of 18 months, and that designation has been renewed 11 times.
“The summary ending of TPS puts the affected Salvadoran community in a precarious position,” said Siegel Vann. “Their projected deportation to a homeland still racked by violence could cause far-reaching adverse consequences, potentially dividing families residing in the U.S. and for El Salvador a destabilizing wave of returning citizens.”
AJC also is urging Congress to pass the ASPIRE-TPS Act of 2017, which would provide a longer-term solution for Salvadoran and migrants form nine other countries currently in the U.S. under the TPS program. Salvadorans comprise the largest group of the 350,000 under the TPS program.