June 21, 2018

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: We Will Not Tear Salvadoran Families Apart

13 January 2018, 03:13 | Taylor George

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: We Will Not Tear Salvadoran Families Apart

A family at a protest in Los Angeles on Monday Jan. 8 2018. The decision to end Temporary Protected Status could affect up to 200,000 people

Laborers President Terry O'Sullivan said Trump's eviction "will cause extreme suffering" not just for Salvadoran TPS cardholders, but for their families, including 194,000 US -born children.

"There really is no constituency on the other side; all that you have are the individuals who are now working with employment authorization documents, who have social security cards, who begin to establish a life in the United States", he said. Others came later, feeling violence, poverty and natural disasters. In the case of the Salvadorans, officials insisted that the humanitarian program that shielded them, known as Temporary Protected Status, should lapse because their country had surmounted the original calamity that triggered TPS in the first place.

But on Monday the Trump Administration announced 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants now allowed to live and work in America will lose that right by September 9, 2019 - giving them 18 months to leave or seek lawful residency.

According to the Trump administration, TPS is being ended because a devastating earthquake's impact in 2001 no longer affects our country, but I think this is far from true.

As a result of residency extensions, the Salvadorans at risk have been here for 17 years, working jobs, paying taxes, sending money to relatives in El Salvador, getting married and having children who are US citizens.

Such a wrenching decision faces the Velasco family of Brentwood in eastern Contra Costa County.


Numerous people under the temporary status have tried to become permanent residents by applying for green cards. "That's not the moral values of this country, to separate families". There are a lot of people who are desperately anxious about what this moment will mean for them and their families. "Everyone is in limbo. Families have to make a decision now-do they take their child back to a situation where they could be harmed, or do they leave them in the United States which then leaves the government the responsibility of providing care to those children, let alone the devastation of separating children from parents".

"The 18 months will also provide time for El Salvador to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens", read the Department of Homeland Security's statement. "They have done so despite undisputed evidence that such a mass exodus to El Salvador will be extremely unsafe for those being expelled and destabilizing for the nation they left so long ago". Almost a quarter of those who will lose their status have mortgages, many have businesses, and a large majority have been gainfully employed for many years, paying taxes and contributing to communities. Qualified enrollees could apply for permanent legal residency before the end of the three-year period and undergo a background check. President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to many of those immigrants. All Salvadorans then in the US, whether legally or illegally, were permitted to remain. Now that it's coming to an end, they can either leave the US or resume their status as illegal aliens, subject to deportation but not all that likely to be deported.

"Basically, our country's not safe", Canales says, "and it's not prepared enough financially to support these families ..."

My good friend "Josue" is a Salvadoran man who has been living in Virginia for 14 years.

At a time when Trump is demonizing TPS recipients, spreading vile lies, and taking protections away from the most vulnerable, it's important to remember that they're an essential part of the fabric of our community. It's available to anyone, and the district encourages schools everywhere to use it, said Nicole Mitchell, coordinator of the district's School Enrollment and Placement Center.

They were vetted by the USA government, admitted, allowed to work and supported themselves.

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