El Salvador: US Booting 200K Would Devastate Us

Government hopes Congress will find solution
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2018 4:57 AM CST

(Newser) – An estimated 200,000 Salvadorans and their 190,000 US-born children aren't the only people stressed out about the administration's decision to withdraw Temporary Protected Status: The government of El Salvador, which estimates 95% of TPS holders are employed or own businesses in the US, says it will "face a great challenge" if tens of thousands are deported after Sept.19, 2019, when the protection from deportation introduced after two deadly earthquakes in 2001 expires. But Salvadoran officials don't think it will come to that. Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez tells the Washington Post that the government will lobby Congress to find a way for people losing TPS status to remain legal US residents. "We think we have sufficient time and will work hard for this alternative," he says.

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Congressional Democrats support finding a way for the Salvadorans to stay, though they have multiple other immigration issues to deal with, Reuters reports. Advocates warn that El Salvador has one of the world's highest murder rates, making it a dangerous place to deport people to—and that its economy will be devastated if it loses billions of dollars in remittances from the US. "This is really bad news for our country," Nayib Bukele, the mayor of San Salvador, tells the Los Angeles Times. "Our country doesn't create opportunities for the Salvadorans who live here. Imagine what we're going to do with 200,000 more coming in." Experts say that if there are mass deportations, many former TPS holders are likely to try to move to the US illegally—as will some Salvadorans displaced by the skilled and bilingual new arrivals. (Read more El Salvador stories.)

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