ABC NEWS – ZEKE MILLER, ELLIOT SPAGAT
The Trump administration is ending special protections for Salvadoran immigrants, forcing nearly 200,000 to leave the country or face deportation, officials said Monday.
El Salvador is the fourth country whose citizens have lost Temporary Protected Status under President Donald Trump, and they have been, by far, 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 on condition of anonymity with The Associated Press because they were not authorized to speak publicly ahead of the announcement. One official said Salvadorans will have until September 2019 to leave the country or adjust their legal status.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s decision, while not surprising, will send shivers through parts of Washington, Los Angeles, New York, Houston and other metropolitan areas that are home to large numbers of Salvadorans, who have enjoyed special protection since earthquakes struck the Central American country in 2001. Many have established deep roots in the U.S., starting families and businesses over decades.