S.A. Salvadoran immigrants fear their future after US ends protections

Imagine being told to leave a country where you created a life, a family, or a business. That's the case for thousands of immigrants from El Salvador, after Homeland Security announced an end to special protections they've had for years.

Many Salvadorans fear their future after Trump’s administration announced the end of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for about 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says the protection will end in September of 2019, forcing Salvadoran immigrants under the protection back to their country.  

In 2016, the Obama administration extended the protection for an additional 18 months citing that Salvadorans were still struggling from the effects of an earthquake in 2001 that killed 1,000 people, according to the Associated Press. Since then, many have called the U.S. home, some for nearly two decades.

Xenia Quevedo, the owner of a Salvadoran restaurant called La Playa Seafood, says the announcement was devastating for her people.

"Now is a sad day for my brothers and sisters as well as for my family,” Quevedo said. “I do have some family members who are also right now in a temporary status."

She says many now fear their future, including longtime customer Denis Bardales. He has called San Antonio home for more than two decades after moving to the U.S from El Salvador. Like thousands, he was granted the temporary protection.

Bardales started a new life in Texas, he created a landscaping business and a family with dreams of one day becoming a permanent resident, but he said those dreams were shattered on Monday.

He says he can’t bear the painful thought of being torn from his wife and two children who were born in Texas. Bardales also admits, he fears for his life if he returns to his home country, a place he says is riddled with violence.

The decision also packs a devastating blow to the economy in El Salvador, where many families rely on financial support from loved ones living in the U.S.   

"Most of these families are sending money weekly," Quevedo said.

For many, there are more questions than answers, but some are hanging on to hope and a change of heart.

 "I'm not only pleading for TPS but Dreamers as well," Quevedo said.

Supporters of the administration's decision say that allowing foreign nationals to remain long after a crisis undermines the integrity of the program and creates a backdoor to permanent immigration.

© 2018 KENS-TV


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