US bishops: End of protected status for Salvadorans is ‘heartbreaking’

(Photo: Wikimedia)

JANUARY 8, 2018 – The USCCB’s National Migration Week began this week with an ill-timed announcement from Washington that a program allowing 200,000 Salvadorans residency in the United States would be coming to an end.

Initially granted after a devastating earthquake in 2001, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) permits allowed citizens of El Salvador to reside in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security announced that the affected Salvadorans would have until September 2019 to leave the United States, find a new way to remain legally, or face deportation.

Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Texas, and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, called the decision “heartbreaking,” and Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles called for a path to permanent residency for those affected.

Several concerns were raised over the decision to revoke TPS status, including the economic costs of ending a system that allowed Salvadorans to send significant funds back to their families in El Salvador. Another point of concern is the future status of the estimated 192,000 U.S. citizen children born to the Salvadoran community, and the choice their parents will have to make in deciding whether to take their children back to El Salvador. Additionally, Catholic Relief Services issued a statement on Monday stating that “From our experience working with the Catholic Church and other local partners in El Salvador, the Salvadoran government does not have adequate humanitarian capacity to receive, protect, or integrate back into society safely this many people.”

For the full article via the Catholic News Agency, click here.