The Latest: US to end special protections for Salvadorans
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration decision on ending protections for Salvadorans in the U.S. (all times local):
The Trump administration’s decision to end special protections for about 200,0000 Salvadoran immigrants raises the possibility they will be forced to abandon their roots in the U.S. and return to a violent homeland they have not known for years, even decades.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen gave Salvadorans with temporary protected status until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the United States or face deportation. El Salvador becomes the fourth country since President Donald Trump took office to lose protection under the program, which provides humanitarian relief for people whose countries are hit with natural disasters or other strife.
The decision, while not surprising, is a severe blow to Salvadorans in New York, Houston, San Francisco and other major cities that have welcomed them since at least the 1980s.
El Salvador’s top diplomat says the end of special protections for about 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the United States underscores the need for legislation that would let them stay.
Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez says he is confident that the U.S. Congress will develop a permanent fix by September 2019, when Salvadorans will be required to leave the country or face deportation.
The diplomat says his government’s efforts to improve conditions in El Salvador will send a signal to U.S. counterparts.
Jean Manes, El Salvador’s ambassador to the U.S., says there is now more urgency to improving conditions in El Salvador, with about 12 percent of its citizens living in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirms that it is ending special protections for Salvadoran immigrants, forcing nearly 200,000 to leave the country or face deportation.
Salvadorans will have until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the United States or adjust their legal status.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that damage inflicted by a 2001 earthquake in the Central American country didn’t justify another temporary extension. She says that El Salvador has received significant international aid and that much of the country’s infrastructure is rebuilt.
She says the 18-month delay gives Congress time to address the issue.
Officials say the Trump administration is ending special protections for Salvadoran immigrants, forcing nearly 200,000 to leave the country or face deportation.
El Salvador is the fourth country whose citizens have lost Temporary Protected Status under President Donald Trump. They have by far been the largest beneficiaries of the program, which provides humanitarian relief for foreigners whose countries are hit with natural disasters or other strife.
Two U.S. officials discussed the decision with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly before the announcement.
One official said Salvadorans will have until September 2019 to leave the United States or adjust their legal status. Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced a Monday deadline whether to grant an extension.
— By Associated Press writer Zeke Miller.
The Trump administration faces a Monday deadline on whether to extend protections that would allow nearly 200,000 Salvadorans to stay in the U.S. legally.
Citizens of El Salvador are currently the beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status program. It provides humanitarian relief for foreigners whose countries are hit with natural disasters or other strife.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faces a Monday deadline on whether to grant an extension of up to 18 months.
A decision to force the Salvadorans back to their native country would represent a serious challenge for El Salvador, which depends on remittances from wage-earners in the U.S.
In November, the administration ended protections for citizens of Haiti and Nicaragua. Citizens of Honduras may be next.