Current Developments in Immigration Law: Terminating Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador
Written By: Jared Allen
The Trump Administration has begun rolling back protections for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) beneficiaries, most recently for almost 200,000 Salvadorans who fled devastating earthquakes in 2001. On January 8, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced her decision to terminate El Salvador’s TPS designation, which will take effect September 9, 2019. In addition, similar announcements have been made for Haiti and Nicaragua, while about 40,000 Hondurans currently await their own determination.
Some news outlets report the policy reversal as extremist—even cruel—in its mandate that hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans leave the country or, alternatively, find some a way to attain citizenship. In contrast, the government insists that it is adhering to the original concept of the TPS program, namely that the relief granted was supposed to be temporary. Secretary Nielsen’s memorandum states that conditions in El Salvador are now sufficient to facilitate such a major resettlement. However, the communication does not address the 190,000 or so U.S.-born children to Salvadoran TPS recipients.
This policy reversal comes in the wake of major immigration overhauls, most notably an end to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program. While the ultimate shape of these changes may be difficult to predict, it is clear that Salvadoran parents of child citizens may have some difficult choices ahead. In addressing this issue, this piece will take a closer look at the TPS program (Section II), discuss in more detail the decision to terminate El Salvador’s status (Section III), and present contrasting responses to these policy changes (Section IV).Subscribe to GILJ