The Trump administration will rescind temporary protected status for 262,500 people from El Salvador who were granted permission to live and work in the United States after two earthquakes rocked their country, senior administration officials announced Monday morning.
Salvadorans who have been in the country for up to 16 years will now be given 18 months to return to home. Recipients will be permitted to renew their TPS status between now and Sept. 9, 2019.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen consulted with the Salvadoran foreign minister, ambassador to the U.S., and President Sánchez Cerén about the decision, DHS said in a release.
“The conditions on the ground are what we look at, not the economic impact on the United States,” one official told reporters in a call Monday morning.
“[O]fficials in the Trump administration say the only criteria the government should consider is whether the original reason for the designation — in this case, damage from the earthquakes — still exists. The homeland security secretary decided that enough of the damage had been repaired 17 years later, and so the protections should end,” DHS said in a statement.