Washington threatens to deport 200,000 Salvadorans

By Seth Galinsky
January 22, 2018
Washington threatens to deport 200,000 Salvadorans
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

“We are here because of the misfortunes that the rulers of the United States have caused in our country,” Sara Ramírez, an organizer for Casa Maryland, told protesters in front of the White House Jan. 8, after the U.S. government announced it would be revoking Temporary Protected Status for nearly 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants. “We only came here to work. Why do you want to kick us out now and take away our right to live honorably in peace?”

Salvadorans with TPS status will have until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the country or “seek an alternative lawful immigration status,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson said announcing the cutoff. The delay will give Congress time to come up with a way for the Salvadorans to stay, she said. In November the U.S. government ended TPS for 50,000 Haitians, with a deadline of July 22, 2019, and for 2,500 Nicaraguans, who have a deadline of Jan. 5, 2019.

Temporary legal status was granted to Salvadorans after earthquakes devastated the country in 2001. The destruction exacerbated a social and economic crisis, a result of U.S.-backed dictatorial regimes that killed thousands of working people and an 11-year civil war that ended in 1992.

In September, President Donald Trump ordered the phasing out of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protected some 800,000 youth from deportations and allowed them to work. Trump has called on Congress to pass legislation that would make the protection permanent, but only if it’s linked to his proposals for reducing “legal” immigration overall.

U.S. imperialism depends on maintaining millions of immigrants in pariah conditions — earning lower wages — to compete against its capitalist rivals.