Towards an Adjustment of Status for Salvadorans with TPS 

February 16, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Contact: Laura Porras

Washington, DC – In January, 2018 the US government announced that it will not renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Salvadorans with TPS have 18 months, or until September 2019, to either leave the country or try to make other arrangements. This note will explore the consequences of this decision and offer several proposals for avoiding or mitigating the potential harm to Salvadorans currently protected by TPS.

The decision to end TPS for Salvadorans falls on the heels of other such decisions. Several months earlier, the Trump administration announced that it will not renew TPS for 5,000 Nicaraguans, 59,000 Haitians and 86,000 Hondurans living in the United States, with very serious consequences for these countries. The decision to end TPS for Salvadorans is similarly painful, and even larger in scale. Salvadorans are the largest group with TPS, representing over 260,000 out of 440,000 total recipients.

Providing legal permanent residency for Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status comes as a logical, humane and politically important and defensible step for the United States and the US Congress. Salvadorans with TPS have set down roots and are by now fully integrated members of American society. They constitute a vibrant economic force and support US foreign policy interests. As a population, they mirror US native born or naturalized citizens in terms of many of their characteristics. Granting them permanent residency would strengthen the social and economic fiber of the United States, while also advancing US interests of stability, prosperity and democracy abroad.

Manuel Orozco, author of the report and Director of the Migration, Remittances and Development program at the DC-based think tank, highlighted the implications of canceling TPS. He noted that “anything short of providing legal permanent residence status will cause disruptions and harm to individuals and families across the US and El Salvador.” As the US economy continues to show steady growth, with unemployment at 4%, the disruption caused by a loss of 195,000 workers in the labor force would be significant.

Ending TPS would also affect El Salvador’s already weak economic performance, to the extent that the economy would possibly not grow at all, according to the report released this Wednesday, February 14 by the Inter-American Dialogue. Today, the remittances Salvadorans with TPS send represent between 2% and 4% of the country’s GDP. They send 6% more money to families than undocumented workers and their transfers amount to over US$620 million a year.


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