On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced the termination of temporary protective status or TPS — for Salvadorans seeking refuge in the US — after a massive earthquake leveled their country in 2001.
According to the DHS, protection will not end until September 9, 2019 — giving 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants 18 months to leave or seek lawful residency and for El Salvador to prepare for their return.
The announcement sparked protests outside the White House from migrant activists.
Meanwhile in the San Francisco Bay Area, the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON joins the migrant community in condemning the decision to end TPS — despite the DHS saying that conditions in El Salvador have improved since 2001.
“The conditions in el salvador is still dire. There’s poverty. There’s a drought. There’s drug related and gang violence there. All of this was in place were in place when they reviewed in 2016,” says Terry Valen.
NAFCON, along with other migrant organizations, was unsuccessful in pushing for TPS following 2013’s Typhoon Haiyan.
They say the US has a unique opportunity to help but they are once again ignoring the many lives that will be affected.
According to the Center for Migration Studies, 88 percent of Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries participate in the US the labor force, 10 percent of them are self-employed, and 10 percent are married to US citizens.
In addition, more than 190,000 US born Salvadoran children have at least 1 parent who is a TPS beneficiary.
“To send them back home and have US citizen children here that’s tearing apart families, that’s tearing apart the fabric of this society. Even business and professionals know that they need these workers. To retrain would cost billions of dollars and to deport them would cost billions of dollars. All of that is going into an industry of deportation and detention that this administration supports.”
Also, the Trump administration has already removed TPS protection from tens of thousands of Haitians and Nicaraguans.
“What’s happening to these people in their home countries around the world is there’s wars, civil wars,” says Valen. “A lot of it in El Salvador and in particular Nicaragua, instigated by the United States and perpetuated in that way. But also the natural disasters: global warming and climate change.”
With the termination of TPS to various people, NAFCON also says they do not expect much hope for the DACA program — which Congress has until march to decide their fate.