The Department of Homeland Security has decided to end the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for some 200,000 Salvadorans who originally received the classification following a devastating earthquake in 2001. DHS now claims that the damage from the earthquake has been repaired sufficiently to negate the original rationale for granting the special status.
Immigrant advocacy groups argue that El Salvador is still too dangerous for the return of the migrants in question, and suggest that the Salvadorans should be allowed to stay in the United States. Critics of the program note that it is temporary by design, and that it has become a backdoor to unchecked mass immigration. Trump has also ended the temporary status for Haitian and Nicaraguan immigrants.
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What seems to be completely absent in the debate is any discussion of the responsibility that these people have to their native country. The United States took these people in in a time of need, but the program was never intended to be permanent, or a pathway to citizenship.
One can make a compelling argument that it is time for these Salvadorans to return and contribute to the work of building up their country. They will bring their talents and skills with them, and they have had years or even decades, to save funds. With these funds they can invest in the Salvadoran economy, start a business, or build a new home.
From an economic standpoint, some of these Salvadoran immigrants will be granted permission to stay through other means. It sounds reasonable enough that there should be some measure in place to provide some of them with green cards and work visas.
But clearly, the United States is in no position to keep 200,000 here, when the original conditions for granting them temporary protection have now been resolved. The United States should not be providing rewards or incentives to people who have flouted immigration law, and ultimately, the migrants in question are the responsibility of the Salvadoran government, not the American government.
It is time for many of these migrants to return to their native land, and seek to revive and restore the social, economic, and political stability of their country.