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The End of TPS: What Comes Next?

Eliza Henne, News Editor

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Since March 2001, the Temporary Protection Status program (TPS) has enabled thousands of undocumented El Salvador natives and their children to live, work, and build their lives in the United States, removed from the earthquakes, poverty, and gang violence of El Salvador.

On Monday, January 8th, the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security declared that, due to the relative success of rebuilding efforts after the 2001 earthquakes, Salvadorans no longer required the benefits and protections of TPS and therefore, the program was terminated.

Without the safeguard of TPS, undocumented Salvadorans would need to either become citizens, stay undocumented and risk deportation, or go back to El Salvador by September of 2019. As TPS has been providing a home and a source of income for thousands of families for over a decade, this situation raises a very serious question: is there a winning scenario for the Salvadoran immigrant?

By staying in the United States, a Salvadoran would lose many essential resources, including a work permit and some types of insurance. If they were found to be undocumented, they would be arrested and deported back to El Salvador.

Returning to El Salvador is not a great option, either. Although the destruction from the earthquakes has been repaired, there still remain the widespread problems of gang violence, unemployment, and poverty that were some of the reasons citizens fled to the States in the first place.

As the 2019 deadline draws closer, more details from the loss of TPS will be ironed out, but for now, the path seems bleak for the undocumented Salvadorans.

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