The White House on Monday announced plans to revoke temporary immigration status first granted to Salvadorans after a series of devastating earthquakes nearly 20 years ago. California, which is home to more “temporary protected status” (TPS) recipients than any other state, will be especially hard hit.
According to the Center for Migration Studies, more than 49,000 TPS recipients from El Salvador live in the Golden State. While most of them reside in Los Angeles, many call the South Bay home.
Santa Clara County is one of the most diverse regions in the nation, with a 40 percent foreign-born population that contributes billions of dollars to the local economy.
Many Salvadoran TPS grantees are homeowners. Zillow Research found that nearly 15,000 of them own property in California, which generates an estimated $24 million a year in property taxes.
Trump’s TPS decree could complicate talks on Capitol Hill about how to protect some 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers. The president gave Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for DACA recipients, 200,000 of whom live in California. He’s now giving lawmakers until fall of 2019 to come up with a bill to protect Salvadorans.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued a statement on Monday blasting Trump for failing to consult with her or fellow California Senator Kamala Harris.
“Threatening deportation would tear tens of thousands of California families apart,” Feinstein said.
She added: “This is yet another example of the Trump administration taking an action with significant consequences for California without making any attempt to understand the harm it would cause.”
Feinstein also announced that she teamed up with senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen to introduce legislation that would provide permanent protection from deporation to TPS recipients.
“In light of this decision to eliminate TPS for El Salvadorans, Congress must move it,” she said. “El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Trafficking of women and girls is rampant. Gangs target citizens for extortion and security services often fail to protect the innocent. As a country, we shouldn’t force people to return to a violent and deadly environment.”