The Triangle-based advocacy group El Pueblo condemned the Trump administration's decision yesterday to end temporary protected status, or TPS, for Salvadorans living in the United States. The humanitarian program, which shields people fleeing armed conflict and natural disasters from deportation and allows them to obtain work permits, has provided legal protection for nearly two hundred thousand Salvadorans since a devastating pair of earthquakes struck the country in 2001.
Now, the decision—effective September 2019—will force Salvadorans here under TPS to return to El Salvador, a country wracked by gang violence and home to one of the most violent cities in the world, or stay in the U.S. illegally and risk deportation.
"The choice to end this legal protection for over 200,000 Salvadorans is cruel and puts more community members at risk by removing legal protections and access to safe, healthy working conditions," El Pueblo said in a statement. "With the future of TPS recipients from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Sudan, as well as the future of 800,000 DACA recipients, in jeopardy, El Pueblo calls upon Congress to pass legislation that would create a permanent solution for affected communities. El Pueblo stands in solidarity with refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Sudan, as well as all of those whose lives and futures are being put at risk by policy changes that fail to respect the human rights and dignity of immigrants, refugees and people of color."
The decision comes just weeks after the Trump administration terminated the program for up to 45,000 Haitians living here in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. In November, thousands of Nicaraguans who were granted the protection following a hurricane also lost their protection, and the administration is slated to make a final decision on Honduran TPS recipients in the next six months.
The decisions could ripple across North Carolina. According to data
from the left-leaning Center for American Progress, an estimated fifty-nine hundred Salvadorans, sixty-two hundred Hondurans, and one thousand Haitians in North Carolina are TPS holders. If Salvadoran workers are deported, CAP estimates $256.8 million would be lost from North Carolina's GDP annually.