San Francisco, CA – The Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) denounces the Trump Administration’s heartless decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 200,000 Salvadoran nationals who have been part of our communities for many years. Revoking their status is profoundly inhumane and will exacerbate conditions of violence and instability in El Salvador.
President George W. Bush first designated Salvadorans as eligible for TPS in 2001, and the Department of Homeland Security under both Bush and Obama repeatedly extended El Salvador’s TPS designation in recognition of persisting insecurity. The need for protection continues to the present day. Dangerous conditions in El Salvador, the world’s most violent country, have driven tens of thousands of Salvadorans to flee north to seek asylum in recent years. Widespread gang- and gender-based violence plague the entire country, as the U.S. Department of State recently acknowledged in a travel warning noting “high rates of crime and violence” in El Salvador.
It would be unconscionable to return hundreds of thousands of longstanding U.S. residents to a country where violence has fueled a major refugee crisis.
Salvadoran TPS holders have laid down deep roots in the United States, creating close community and family ties. Approximately 193,000 U.S. citizen children have at least one parent who is a Salvadoran TPS holder. These young citizens now face the terrifying choice of being either separated from their parents or forced to leave the only country they have ever known to face risk of death, persecution, and torture in El Salvador. Salvadoran TPS holders are also workers, business owners, and U.S. taxpayers who have made invaluable contributions to our economy. Deporting them would cost the United States more than $1.8 billion and exacerbate insecurity in El Salvador by eliminating key remittances that keep many families and communities afloat. The Salvadoran government has made clear that their country is not equipped to absorb Salvadoran TPS holders, and the deleterious impacts of mass deportations will likely only drive more Salvadorans to flee north.
Congress has the opportunity to act now and provide a permanent legislative solution to protect TPS holders and their communities. We urge legislators to immediately move forward with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez’s American Promise Act, which would create a pathway to permanent residency for long-time TPS holders.