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Cosmopolitan Commentary: El Salvador Edition

President Trump is removing the Temporary Protected Status, which forces nearly 200,000 people who have been living in the United States for a decade to be sent back to their native land of El Salvador; and so the hot topic of immigration continues.

Time for a brief crash course from yours truly: Temporary Protected Status is a program that was implemented by President George Bush in 1990 to provide temporary work authorization and lawful status to people already in the United States who came from countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster; it was basically a program that allowed a “get out of jail free card” to foreigners.

But, despite the word “temporary”, this arrangement was anything but that: This program has been in place for about twenty eight years, and just now President Trump decided that it needs to be removed. The United States is now giving Salvadorans until September of 2019 to make arrangements regarding how they are getting home to their country. In theory, this sounds great: Yay! The Salvadorans finally get to go home – but think again. El Salvador has been rebuilt from the numerous earthquakes that have occurred there, however, violence is still prevalent in the country, which slows down their economic state and is a major reason for immigration to the US. But, these Salvadorans have been in America for twenty-eight years, and some were children when they were brought here; they have established their life here, and although it is beneficial to stay true to your roots, El Salvador is not home anymore to a lot of these people. Children have grown up in the United States and now are nearly thirty years old: Are they really expected to go back to a country they have not seen since they were a mere infant?

As of now, the Trump administration advocates for sending immigrants home since their original purpose for coming here was for the earthquakes. In the government’s eyes, no more earthquakes mean there is no reason for these people to be here anymore. However, hope is not lost yet because some officials have introduced legislation to allow people with temporary protection to stay permanently in the United States.

El Salvador is also hoping the Salvadorans here can stay; the nation has asked Trump to renew the designation for its citizens – they hope the renewal will be put in place because of the droughts El Salvador is now facing. Furthermore, El Salvador’s president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, has gone as far as taking to Twitter in hopes of gaining support in his plea to the United States, which has caused some US officials to take into consideration many of the Salvadorans’ deep connections to America.

Whether you support Salvadorans staying in the United States or not, it is important to understand that these are people. Our government has a funny way of dehumanizing immigrants even when some of them were brought here as an infant with no idea of what was going on. They are humans who have a life and family; there are countless stories of how families in El Salvador get by on the money their family sends from America. The United States is a country that was made for immigrants and people of all backgrounds, so it is only fair that we stand by our values, and allow for this program to continue.