TPS Cancelled For 200,000 Salvadorans

Bryn Valdez, Reporter

After nearly 20 years, Salvadorans living in the U.S. were hit with the news that they must vacate by September 9, 2019. About 200,000 Salvadorans came to the U.S. under Temporary Protection Service at that time, after a pair of catastrophic earthquakes hit their home county in 2001.

“It’s sad for them after major earthquakes, to have the country that accepted them just throwing them out again into the most dangerous country,” said Fr. Ashlee Ludwig, who is of Salvadoran descent.

One of the most obvious facts that the Department of Homeland Security has overlooked is that while the initial effects of the earthquakes have been subdued, El Salvador still remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with 91 homicides per 100,000 people in 2016, according to The Economist.

“Crime rates, poverty, hunger, a very low supply of jobs and low opportunity for education is what Salvadorans are dealing with in returning to El Salvador,” said Social Studies teacher Kendall Lemmer.

Specifically, El Salvador lacks the technology-driven and more advanced job force that is seen in the U.S., meaning many people are potentially looking at a downgrade in trade and pay.

“I think our government is saying that they need to go back and help their own country,” said Lemmer.

While this may be the idea, our government is failing to consider how many of the residents under TPS send a portion of their earnings back to El Salvador to support their families who are facing an absence of jobs. These remittances constitute 17% of El Salvador’s economy, according to Voa News.

In addition, it is hard to imagine how our own U.S. economy will be impacted when a significant portion of the working residents are removed.

Possibly the most personal aspect of this issue is the factor of the many families that have been built in the U.S. “I think people’s lives are much more important than laws or borders” said Spanish teacher Maria Gonzales.

With this in mind, many Salvadorans have to decide to either return to El Salvador and abandon their families, take their families with them, or attempt to stay in the U.S. illegally if they are unable to obtain citizenship.

“I know a lot of Americans just think they should obtain citizenship, but I think that because a lot of people here are very wealthy, we don’t really understand how hard it is to actually do that,” said Ludwig.

The government also has offered no modified route to legal citizenship TPS holders, leaving them to battle a process that often takes upwards of 10 years.

All things considered, Department of Homeland Security’s decision has left many to speculate on the real motive behind the canceling of TPS, which has previously been upheld by both the Bush and Obama administrations.

“I feel like the President thinks all Latinos are the same, so he’s just trying to get rid of them all by saying that 2001 was a long time ago,” said Ludwig.

Aside from Salvadoran immigrants, DHS has also canceled TPS for Sudanese, Nicaraguans, and Haitians who have been protected under terms of natural disaster or violence.

In short, this action is already proving to have disastrous effects on its hard-working recipients and the people they are responsible for supporting.

“In a humanitarian aspect, making people pick up and leave after nearly 20 years is really hard to even picture how it will even look, and might not even be possible considering how planted they are,” said Lemmer.