LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Salvadorans Should Not Be Forced to Return to an Unsafe Country
On Jan. 8, the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of protections for more than 200,000 Salvadorans who are living and working in the U.S. legally under temporary protected status.
The secretary of Homeland Security has determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist, resulting in the termination of the current TPS status.
Most Salvadorans are law abiding, have lived here for many years, regularly paying the required fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They have raised families, paid taxes, often working in labor-intensive jobs that are not easy to fill and vital to the farming, dairy, and meat processing industries.
The termination will take effect on Sept. 9, 2019 unless Congress comes up with a legislative solution. Termination of TPS status for citizens of a country implies that conditions that once prevented them from returning to their native land no longer exist and that it is safe to “go home.” I visited the State Department website and read its most recent Travel Alert: “The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of travel to El Salvador due to high rates of crime and violence. El Salvador has one of the highest homicide levels in the world and crimes such as extortion, assault and robbery are common.” These risks will certainly be compounded for returning Salvadorans and their families. The 2001 earthquake may have been cleaned up, but it definitely is not safe for Salvadorans to go home.
Sister Virginia Wilkinson
Sisters of the Presentation of the BVM