Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen confirmed Monday afternoon that the department would not renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands immigrants from El Salvador.
"Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
Nielsen said the termination would be delayed by 18 months to allow Salvadorans enough time to make arrangements to leave the U.S. or to seek legal residency. She added that it would also give Congress time to debate a legislative solution.
"Only Congress can legislate a permanent solution addressing the lack of an enduring lawful immigration status of those currently protected by TPS who have lived and worked in the United States for many years. The 18-month delayed termination will allow Congress time to craft a potential legislative solution," she said in the statement.
The Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce Monday that it will not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for over 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S., The Washington Post reported.
Those individuals must either leave the country or seek lawful residency by September 2019, or face deportation. DHS is expected to make a formal announcement later this afternoon.
Salvadorans were granted protected status after a pair of earthquakes devastated the country in 2001, killing over 1,100 people and displacing 1.3 million.
Several Congressional Democrats condemned the move on Twitter shortly after the news broke.
Trump Admin's blind eagerness to depopulate our nation from law-abiding, hard-working immigrants at all costs makes it imperative that Congress defend our moral standing and find a permanent solution for yet another entire community who will now be undocumented. #ElSalvador #TPS— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) January 8, 2018
The move comes just two months after DHS ended TPS for 60,000 Haitians who came to the U.S. after a 2010 earthquake. DHS also ended TPS for 2,500 Nicaraguans.