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Trump Administration Says That Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans Must Leave

And despite its name, the administration says, the Temporary Protected Status program, known as T.P.S., had turned into a quasi-permanent benefit for hundreds of thousands of people.On a conference call Monday, senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security, who spoke on the condition they not be named, said that after studying the conditions in El Salvador they had concluded that the circumstances that led to the designation — the destruction from the 2001 earthquakes — “no longer exist.”“T.P.S. is a temporary benefit,” one official said, adding, “only Congress can legislate a permanent solution.”The ending of protection for Salvadorans, Haitians and Nicaraguans leaves fewer than 100,000 people in the program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990.It provides temporary lawful status and work authorization to people already in the United States, whether they entered legally or not, from countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster or other strife. The homeland security secretary decides when a country merits the designation and can renew it for six, 12 or 18 months.PhotoA landslide in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, following an earthquake in January 2001. Citing damage from the earthquake, the American government permitted Salvadorans illegally in the U.S. to remain.Credit La Prensa Grafica, via Associated PressThere is no limit to the number of extensions a country can receive. Countries that have received and then lost the designation in the past include Bosnia and Herzegovina, which endured a civil war in the 1990s, and Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia during the Ebola crisis. El Salvador was one of the first countries in the program because of its civil war; that designation expired in 1994.Continue reading the main storyThe administration is giving Salvadorans in the program until September 2019 to get their affairs in order. After that, they no longer will have permission to stay in the country, forcing them into a wrenching decision.Ms. […]