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El Salvador and its Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

As of March 9, 2018, El Salvador’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation was removed. For those of you who do not know what TPS is, here is an excellent article that explains it. The article, by the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, explains that TPS is a type of immigration relief for individuals from select countries. Countries that are given TPS maintain that status until further review, which occurs every 18 months. Designating a country with TPS usually means some serious incident occurred in that country, like an environmental disaster or a war crisis. TPS allows individuals from the country with the status to remain in the United States and obtain lawful employment. At the most basic level, TPS status enables individual people to register for TPS status so they can work.

As stated, the new executive administration has implemented changes to TPS status of certain countries. Specifically, as I stated early, El Salvador is no longer qualified as TPS. What this means is that on September 9, 2019, El Salvador’s TPS status will officially be terminated. This change is a microcosm of all the immigration modifications that are going on today. Other immigration law changes are succinctly explained in the same helpful article, which serves as an excellent resource.

There are an estimated 200,000 people from El Salvador living in the United States. Part of the deal with the TPS program is that those people from El Salvador working in the United States send a portion of their earnings to their home country as what is known as a remittance. Remittances are generally used to help their family members in El Salvador.

One concern is that with the eventual cessation of remittances in September 2019, poverty in El Salvador could get worse. In fact, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the El Salvadorians living in the United States are sending remittances back to their homeland. Specifically, it is estimated that each working El Salvadorian in the United States sends back about $4,300 per year. These payments have decreased poverty levels and have enhanced the economy of El Salvador.

Many people in El Salvador rely on these payments. Picture a situation where an El Salvadorian lives and works in the United States. A portion of his earnings goes back to his family in El Salvador. He works under the assumption that his work in the States will help his loved ones back home. That will all be a distant memory come September 2019.

El Salvador was initially granted TPS because of earthquakes that plagued the Central American country. However, the new administration has determined that the country has bounced back from the turmoil caused by the earthquake damage. It is important to stay informed on TPS matters, particularly El Salvador. It will be interesting, and potentially saddening, to see the other side effects of this administrative decision.

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