The Temporary Protected Status, TPS, program for Salvadorans heading to the United States is becoming more difficult to justify, U.S. ambassador to El Salvadoran Jean Manes said earlier this week.
"TPS has always been a temporary status, it is a tool for an emergency situation and in the case of El Salvador, we had it for 16 years," the official wrote on her Twitter account, referring to the thousands of immigrants flowing from El Salvador since 2001.
“Every year we have to justify that the current situation is the result of the 2001 earthquakes and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so."
However, deporting hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans residing in the United States with their families and U.S.-born children is not the answer, countered Alianza America activist Oscar Chacon. Chacon said he felt the United States should honor the agreement of 20-year protection to asylum seekers.
The activist urged Congress to take legal action, adding that Salvadorans who have lived in the United States for three or more years are "no longer temporary."
"They are part of our social, cultural, economic fabric and therefore there should be a mechanism to allow them to access permanent residence," he said.
On Nov. 12, Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren announced plans to meet with U.S. lawmakers and members of Congress to analyze the situation in hopes of finding a more favorable solution.
Up until now, relations between the two nations transpired peacefully, but this could be subject to change in the future, Manes warned.
"One cannot think that relations are going to stay that way always ... we have to work on the bilateral relationship."
El Salvador is one of ten countries subject to the sudden influx of citizens which are cued to return in 2018.
For its part, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, known as CHIRLA, highlighted the suffering that the cancellation of temporary programs represents for many foreign families, especially those in California. The state is home to over 570,000 Salvadoran immigrants.
A report prepared by the Center for Migration Studies estimated that more than half of Salvadorans and Hondurans who are beneficiaries of TPS have resided in the United States for 20 years or more.
The temporary benefit that protects hundreds of thousands from deportation and offers work permits expires on March 9, 2018 for Salvadorans and on June 5 of the same year for Hondurans.
So far, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti. The government warning margin is 60 days.