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TPS, El Salvador, And The Bills Which Could Change Things

TPS, El Salvador, And The Bills Which Could Change Things January 8, 2018

The big news story of today for anyone who is Hispanic-estadounidense has undoubtedly been the reported announcement by multiple news agencies that President Trump is planning to announce that El Salvador will lose its Temporary Protected Status in September of 2019 which it’s had since 2001 in the wake of a massive earthquake that left nearly a thousand dead and over a million people homeless. This is a massive news story that affects hundreds of thousands of Salvadorians and almost as many Salvadorian-Americans/estadounidenses. TPS benefits around 13% of the Salvadorians in the United States, roughly 200,000 individuals. The purpose of this article is to talk about TPS, El Salvador, and the bills that could change things and make them better for TPS individuals.

El Salvador's flag, the flag of the nation with the most at stake relative to TPS status.
El Salvador’s flag, the flag of the nation with the most at stake relative to TPS status.

What Is TPS/Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status is a designation that has existed since 1990 that is given to certain immigrants from designated countries wherein conditions are bad enough that sending them back puts them at risk because of extraordinary ongoing conditions such as civil war and natural disasters (and the long-term damage from natural disasters). Currently, the following countries are designated as TPS nations: El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Of these nations, El Salvador has the greatest number of beneficiaries, with nearly 200,000 Salvadorians benefitting from the status currently.

What Do They Bring To The Table?

Studies have shown that individuals who have Temporary Protected Status are vital members of their communities. They file taxes, have jobs, and even buy houses. Temporarily Protected Status holders contribute to their communities and to their economies. They have built homes, helped communities grow, and participate civically. Any objective analysis of the data shows that people who gain Temporarily Protected Status make this nation their home, and fight to improve it every single day.

The Announcement To Strip El Salvador Of TPS:

Read the announcement here. Basically what it says is this: recovery from the earthquake and the aftershocks which caused El Salvador to be deemed deserving of TPS in the first place is done. And because El Salvador has shown that it can handle 39,000 individuals sent back over 2 years our governmental agencies have decided it can handle more than 5 times that amount at once with a bit of warning ahead of time, despite the fact that Salvadorian governmental officials, including their foreign minister Hugo Martinez, have said they’ll begin lobbying for the US to come up with a permanent solution for the 195,000 Salvadorians currently in the US with TPS which hints that this isn’t as easy as the Department of Homeland Security would have us in the US believe.

How Can You Join The Fight To Save Temporary Protected Status?

One of the biggest ways you can join the fight to save TPS is to get your legislators to pass the ESPERER Act of 2017. This is a bipartisan act meant to protect certain beneficiaries of TPS and make it so that they gain lawful permanent status since they’ve been here as temporarily protected individuals for so long that they’ve inevitably started new lives, families, and often even businesses and careers here. If you want to make it so that many of the recipients of the TPS are protected then you should voice your support of the ESPERER Act to your legislators and inform that they unless they move to push it through Congress they shouldn’t count on your vote or the votes of many others during the next election. Currently, it’s with the subcommittee on immigration and border security. Tweet at and call Representatives Raul Labrador & Jim Sensenbrenner who lead the subcommittee and tell them to pass the bill back to the House floor for widespread debate and discussion.

Another bill that could achieve similar results is the ASPIRE Act, which is also in the clutches of the subcommittee on immigration and border security. Like the ESPERER Act, this is a bipartisan bill with cosponsors in both parties. It’s clear that part of the problem here is the subcommittee on immigration and border security. We need to get them to move and to release these bills back into the wider House for legitimate debate and discussion. We can’t let them hold these bills, and thus the security of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorians and Salvadorian Americans hostage.

Support the ASPIRE Act and the ESPERER Act and get them back onto the House floor for the sake of making sure that families aren’t ripped apart by the carelessness of the Trump administration and the inability of Congress to act because a single subcommittee isn’t being cooperative. As long as we’re ignorant of the machinations of the subcommittee on immigration and border security we’ll be giving them power over us. If you want to protect not only Salvadorian recipients of TPS but also other recipients of the status now and hopefully in the future, this is the surest way to do so, because these bills are the best shot we have at granting other immigration statuses to current and future recipients of TPS status. Another way you can support these bills is to get your senators to sponsor the same legislation in the Senate because right now both are in the House. Fight for this, because without us vocalizing our support for these bills they won’t ever be seen by the President and we won’t get to help long-time beneficiaries of TPS who’ve made the US their homes and have contributed to our economy and to our country as a whole.


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