World Salvadorans fear TPS decision will be a huge economic blow to their country

20:56  08 january  2018
20:56  08 january  2018 Source:   MSN

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Many Salvadoran U.S. residents face deportation to their troubled homeland under the decision announced Monday to end the Temporary Protected Status program. [‘I consider this my country ’: Salvadorans in U.S. devastated by TPS decision ].

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a group of people standing in front of a building: A soldier stands guard at a crime scene in San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, in October. Many Salvadoran U.S. residents face deportation to their troubled homeland under the decision announced Monday to end the Temporary Protected Status program. © MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images A soldier stands guard at a crime scene in San Salvador, El Salvador’s capital, in October. Many Salvadoran U.S. residents face deportation to their troubled homeland under the decision announced Monday to end the Temporary Protected Status program. Monday's decision could result in the deportation of immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades, whose children are U.S. citizens and who send home billions of dollars a year to relatives in El Salvador. They would be returning to a country that has had one of the highest murder rates in the world in recent years, as well as a rampant gang problem.

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‘I consider this my country ’: Salvadorans in U.S. brace for TPS decision . Most thought their next step was a path to U.S. citizenship, not deportation. “I consider this my country ,” said Cortez, who came to the United States when he was 28 and is a silver-haired 46-year-old journeyman plumber at

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The Salvadoran government has lobbied the Trump administration for months to find a solution that would allow these immigrants to stay in the United States, rather than end the Temporary Protected Status program, or TPS, that has been in effect since 2001. Over the weekend, El Salvador's Foreign Ministry continued tweeting about the benefits that Salvadorans bring to the U.S. economy and culture, saying that 95 percent of immigrants in the program are employed or own their own businesses.

The Salvadorans with TPS status "have become important members of their communities in the United States, and their contributions are key to the development of that nation," the ministry wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

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El Salvador's foreign minister, Hugo Martínez, was meeting with U.S. Ambassador Jean Manes on Monday morning and was expected to hold a news conference to address the situation later in the day, according to a ministry spokesman.

Under the terms of the decision announced by the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, the administration will notify Salvadorans who benefit from the program that they have until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the United States or find a way to obtain legal residency.

In 2001, after two deadly earthquakes struck El Salvador in quick succession, the Bush administration allowed Salvadorans who were residing in the U.S. before February 2001 to apply for protected status, which allowed for work permits and spared them deportation. The temporary program has been renewed several times in the ensuing years.

"Salvadorans have been beneficiaries of this program for so long. It created an illusion that this would lead to a permanent residency," said a Latin American diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The prospect of losing this status is "going to be very, very disappointing, not only back in El Salvador."

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According to the DHS statement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen determined that conditions in El Salvador have improved significantly since the earthquakes, erasing the original justification for the program. The decision also comes in the context of the Trump administration's wider efforts to cut legal immigration to the United States and deport more of those who enter the country illegally.

The estimated 200,000 Salvadorans who enjoy this protected status also have roughly as many U.S.-born children, who are now at risk of seeing their parents and other relatives deported.

"Families will be torn apart," the diplomat said.

If all TPS holders return or are deported, it will impose an enormous strain on a country of 6.2 million people where poverty is widespread and gang violence remains a serious problem. Although homicides have fallen over the past two years, El Salvador still had nearly 4,000 killings last year, giving it the highest murder rate in Central America, at more than 60 homicides per 100,000 people.

Another major impact of the Trump administration's decision could be a drop in the amount of money Salvadoran immigrants send to relatives back home. Salvadorans send more than $4.5 billion per year in remittances, which makes up some 17 percent of the country's GDP, according to the World Bank, the single greatest source of income for the country.

"The economic impact is going to be undeniable," said Roberto Rubio-Fabian, executive director of FUNDE, a nonprofit research organization in San Salvador. Remittances are the "pillar that supports an economy with serious structural problems."

Rubio-Fabian said there are no estimates yet of the potential loss in remittances, as it remains unclear how many immigrants with TPS might end up returning to El Salvador. But he said the effect could potentially be grave for an economy propped up by funding from abroad, and could ultimately push more people to seek to leave the country.

"There is no doubt that the migratory pressure to the U.S., or other countries, is going to increase," he said.

Salvadorans in L.A. Brace for Change .
Revoking immigration protections on L.A.’s TPS holders could have a dramatic impact on the city’s workforce, communities, and neighborhoods.Hernandez is originally from El Salvador, but she’s lived in Los Angeles since she emigrated to the U.S. in 1992 at the age of 19. She has been able to live and work legally in the U.S. since 2001 because of her Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, as it is commonly known.

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