Washington, D.C., January 9th 2017.- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) condemns the recent announcement made by the Department of Homeland Security of the United States (DHS) stating that, effective immediately September 9, 2019, the temporary protection status (TPS) of over 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States will be revoked, leaving them and their 190,000 children --many of whom are American citizens--, in a situation of extreme uncertainty and vulnerability.
TPS was granted to salvadorans in 2001 after an earthquake devastated the country. The program allowed the beneficiaries to work and reside legally within the United States. Since then, multiple US administrations have renewed the program in recognition of the situation of insecurity and crime that prevails throughout the country. As such, the termination of this program would affect the resettlement possibilities of these people.
"Seventeen years after it came into force, many of the people who stayed in the United States thanks to TPS built their lives up, studied, worked, started businesses and families, and became a part of the social fabric of this country. This inhumane decision to eliminate the TPS will destroy thousands of family ties and ignores fundamental human rights to the protection of families and the rights of children, many of whom are American citizens which will be faced with the impossible choice of staying in the United States without their parents or being sent to a country with which they have limited connections, "said Francisco Quintana, Program Director for the Andean Region, North America and the Caribbean. "On the other hand, this decree is being applied without evaluating other important humanitarian considerations, such as the return of these people to a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world, as well as high rates of corruption and poverty, with zero infrastructure to facilitate a massive resettlement. "
Once the announcement was made, TPS beneficiaries will have until September 2019 to return to their country of origin or get a residence permit through another legal means. Once the status is revoked, these people will be at risk of deportation. However, it should be noted that the United States must comply with international obligations which require that all individuals facing a potential deportation must undergo an individualized case evaluation, which determines whether or not they will be returned to an at-risk situation and analyzes the possible impact on their rights as individuals and children, some of them being American citizens.
This is the third group of TPS beneficiaries affected by status revocation. Previously, in November 2017, the Trump Administration canceled TPS for beneficiaries from Haiti and Nicaragua, affecting some 50,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans.
Following the cancellation of the program for Salvadorans, a decision on the 61,000 Honduran beneficiaries remains pending.