Thursday, January 08, 2015

US extends TPS

This week the US announced that it would extend yet again Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans in the US without proper documents at the time of the 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador.  Salvadoran nationals are eligible for this status if they have been continually in the US since February 13, 2001, have committed no crimes and have registered during each preceding 12 month period. Persons registered under TPS are not subject to being deported back to El Salvador, even if their original arrival in the US was illegal. TPS includes work authorization from the federal government allowing TPS enrollees to be legally employed. 

There are approximately 215,000 Salvadorans in the US on TPS.    TPS was originally granted to suspend deportations to El Salvador on humanitarian grounds after the 2001 earthquakes.   TPS has been extended every 18 months thereafter.   Since TPS only applies to Salvadorans in the US as of February 12, 2001, each person on TPS has lawfully lived in the US for almost 13 years.

The current extension runs though September 9, 2016.  Persons currently enrolled in TPS must re-enroll between January 7 and March 9, 2015.

Several groups are advocating to convert the status of the thousands of Salvadorans in the US on TPS to permanent residence (a "green card").   They point out that migrants on TPS have paid fees to the government to maintain their status, have paid taxes, have undergone background checks, and have done everything else required by the law.  If you are in the US on TPS, the law prohibits you from returning to El Salvador or you lose your status.   That's a very anti-family policy of forced separation for people who have complied with all the requirements of the law for the past 13 years.   It seems to make good sense to change TPS to a green card to allow the reunification of families.

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