Things That Matter

Trump Ends Temporary Protected Status For Salvadorans. Here’s What That Means

The Trump administration recently announced its plan to terminate the Temporary Protected Status of approximately 200,000 Salvadorans currently living in the United States, all but guaranteeing that many will face deportation.

Protesters at an Oakland rally to defend TPS for Salvadorans and many others at risk. Photo credit: Peg Hunter / Flickr

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is granted by the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to eligible foreign-born individuals who cannot return to their birth country safely because of conditions or circumstances that can cause them harm. TPS was granted to Salvadorans after earthquakes ravaged El Salvador in 2001, and their permits have been renewed on an 18-month basis since that time.

DHS said that TPS for Salvadorans will end on Sept. 9, 2019, stating that conditions that led to the original designation are no longer applicable.

“Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist,” the DHS statement read.

This move reinforces the Trump administration’s hard-line stance on foreigners living in the country. It has already ended the TPS designation for Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Sudanese, while offering short-term extensions for Hondurans and South Sudanese.

Adding insult to injury, Trump referred to El Salvador, Haiti, and African nations as “shithole countries” in a meeting with lawmakers last Thursday.

Photo credit: Peg Hunter / Flickr

The comment sparked global outrage and has caused a case of he said-he said between the two political parties. Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.), who attended the meeting, confirmed that Trump used that language, while Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue said they “do not recall” the president saying those specific comments.

Trump denies using the term “shithole” and told reporters over the weekend that he is the “least racist person you have ever interviewed.” The most recent reports add a perplexing, but nonetheless troubling, twist: Cotton and Perdue, according to three White House sources, believe Trump said “shithouse” rather than “shithole.”

Regardless of the exact syntax, hundreds of thousands of lives now hang in the balance. According to DHS officials, 262,500 Salvadorans have received TPS permits. These individuals will have nearly two years to either leave the United States on their own or apply for a green card. However, the convoluted and backlogged U.S. immigration system will likely make the latter all but impossible.

Democrats, immigration advocates, and Salvadoran government officials have condemned this decision, calling on DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to extend the designation due to El Salvador’s growing gang violence.

The Economist reports that El Salvador was ranked as the world′s most violent country, and its capital, San Salvador, the city with the most murders in both 2015 and 2016.

What’s more, El Salvador is struggling to provide economic opportunities for its citizens who currently live there. An influx of new residents could prove problematic. Jeannette Aguilar, who operates a public polling center at Central American University in San Salvador, tells the LA Times that mass U.S. deportations would negatively affect the country’s economy and further compromise security.

“Without a doubt this will be a crisis of grand dimensions,” Aguilar said.

In the U.S., many Salvadorans are worried about losing everything they’ve established – families, businesses, careers, and communities. In a statement, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California called the decision “senseless.”

“Our communities will be dealt a serious blow when families are broken apart, when parents and children are separated, and when we see the near simultaneous layoffs of 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients currently employed, costing employers nearly $1 billion in immediate turnover costs,” said David Huerta, president of SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW). “We are losing invaluable workers thoroughly vetted by the government, we are losing mothers and fathers who are working to provide the best for their families, and neighbors who have invested in their communities.”


She Didn’t Know Her Rape Led To A Pregnancy. Now, Her Stillbirth Has Landed Her A 30-Year Jail Sentence In El Salvador

Will you and your family be affected by the termination of TPS? Tell us about it in the comments! We want to share your story.

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Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Things That Matter

Alejandro Mayorkas Is The First Latino And Immigrant To Be Named Secretary Of The Department Of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas is Cuban-born and was one of the original architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Mayorkas is inheriting a Trump-era DHS and is immediately getting to work to rectify issues that the Biden administration has highlighted. Two of the most pressing issues are heading up a task force to reunite migrant families who were separated by the previous administration and reviewing the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Remain in Mexico” is a policy that the Trump administration created and enforced that sent migrants to Mexico to await their asylum cases. The policy has been criticized both by U.S. and international politicians as a humanitarian issue.

It isn’t Mayorkas’ first time working for DHS.

Sec. Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of DHS from December 2013 – October 2016 under President Barack Obama. During that time, Mayorkas was crucial in responding to the 2013 – 14 Ebola virus epidemic and 2015 – 16 Zika virus epidemic. Mayorkas is ready to come back to the department and to bring back what he sees are the department’s mission.

“DHS bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people, the weight of grave challenges seen and unseen,” Sec. Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to return to the Department to lead the men and women who dedicate their talent and energy to the safety and security of our nation. I will work every day to ensure that they have the tools they need to execute their missions with honor and integrity. The mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. The United States is a welcoming and empathetic nation, one that finds strength in its diversity. I pledge to defend and secure our country without sacrificing these American values.”

Mayorkas is no stranger to working on America’s immigration system.

Mayorkas is one of the original architects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which is at stake because of the previous administration. The Biden administration has made a promise to preserve DACA and to create a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.

President Biden has introduced legislation to reform the current immigration system. The legislation has a timeframe for all undocumented people in the U.S. to become citizens if they follow certains steps and meet certain criteria.

While Mayorkas got bipartisan support in the Senate confirmation, some Republicans did not like his work in immigration. Sen. Marco Rubio, a fellow Cuban, voted to opposed Mayorkas.

“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Rubio said in a statement.

READ: President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

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President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

Things That Matter

President Biden Introduces Legislation To Create Pathway To Citizenship For 11 Million Undocumented People

President Joe Biden promised that he would introduce legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. The president has followed through with the promise and all eyes are on the government as millions wait to see what happens next.

President Joe Biden has been busy the first couple of weeks of his presidency.

President Biden is proposing a pathway to citizenship that millions of people in the U.S. have been asking for. There are around 11 million people who are undocumented in the U.S. The pathway to citizenship will take time, according to the legislation, but some people will have time shaved off of their pathway, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and farm workers who have worked throughout the pandemic.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 is designed to change the immigration system that has created a backlog of immigration cases. There are multiple steps in the proposed legislation starting with creating a pathway to citizenship. Those who would benefit from the bill are people who are physically in the U.S. by January 2, 2021.

First, the bill allows for people to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, and if the person passes a criminal and national security background check, they can apply for a green card. Three years after that, people who pass further background checks and demonstrate a knowledge of English and civics can apply for citizenship.

A line in the bill aims to help people deported during the previous administration.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may waive the presence requirement for those deported on or after January 20, 2017, who were physically present for at least three years prior to removal for family unity and other humanitarian purposes,” reads the proposed legislation.

The bill also wants to change the word “alien” to “noncitizen” in immigration laws to embrace the country’s stance as a country of immigrants.

The legislation has been introduced and now immigration activists are waiting to see it happen.

The legislation tackles several issues that have plagued the immigration system in the U.S. The bill proposes increasing visa limits for certain countries, keeping families together, removing discrimination against LGBTQ+ families, and so many other initiatives to start reforming the immigration system.

President Biden has been offering executive orders that are in the same vein as the bill. Many have aimed as fixing issues that were created by the previous administration and the president is not hiding from it.

“There’s a lot of talk, with good reason, about the number of executive orders I’ve signed. I’m not making new law. I’m eliminating bad policy,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office while signing executive orders. “What I’m doing is taking on the issues that, 99 percent of them, that the last president of the United States issued executive orders I thought were counterproductive to our national security, counterproductive to who we are as a country. Particularly in the area of immigration.”

The undocumented population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million and has declined since then. There are at least 4.4 million people in the U.S. with at least one undocumented parent, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

READ: President Joe Biden Signs Executive Order To Preserve DACA

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