Approximately 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants have until Sept. 9, 2019, to either leave the country, find a legal way to remain in the U.S., or face deportation, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced in a news release Monday.
What's the story?
The Trump administration faced a deadline to extend or end Temporary Protected Status for about 200,000 Salvadorans who originally came to the U.S. following several earthquakes that rocked El Salvador in January and February 2001.
DHS determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist.
"Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated," the release said.
Why do they have 18 months?
The 18-month time frame will give people enough time to arrange for their return to El Salvador or, if eligible, seek alternative legal status.
The delay also allows Congress time to address and craft possible legislative solutions for those who've lived and worked in the country for many years, the release said.
How did Homeland Security reach its decision?
DHS conducted extensive research in El Salvador to determine whether to end or extend TPS for the Salvadorans.
Nielsen also met with Jean Elizabeth Manes, El Salvadorian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the U.S., and spoke with President Salvador Sánchez Cerén as part of those efforts.
According to the release, El Salvador has received significant international aid and millions of dollars in long-term assistance to assist with its recovery efforts following the earthquakes that killed at least 1,100 and injured thousands.
Homes, schools, and hospitals have been repaired, reconstructed or rebuilt. And money has also been provided for sanitation and water, as well as for the repair of infrastructure.
"The substantial disruption of living conditions caused by the earthquake no longer exist," Nielsen said in the release.