WASHINGTON – El Salvador has asked Honduras and Haiti to work together to get the US Congress to approve a path to permanent residency for everyone currently benefiting from Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and who, as things stand, will be left without protection in less than two years.
That was announced Friday by Salvadoran Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez at a press conference in Washington after four days of meetings in the Capitol trying to convince both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to find an alternative for TPS.
“The proposals we made in all the meetings were on behalf of everyone protected by TPS, and I’ve sent a note to Honduras and Haiti asking them to join forces with us in our appeal to Congress,” he said.
He had already met with the Honduran foreign minister several days ago to discuss the matter, but they couldn’t travel together to Washington this week because the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez is currently caught up in a post-electoral crisis and a wave of protests against his inauguration.
For its part, the Haitian government will continue “insisting,” Martinez said, without giving further details.
What El Salvador wants is “a bridge that offers TPS beneficiaries the chance to become permanent residents,” something like the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (Nacara).
That regulation, approved by the US Congress in 1997, protected citizens of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Cuba from deportation, as well as immigrants from some countries of the former Soviet Union.
El Salvador has some 195,000 citizens with TPS, a large community that will be left without that protection in September 2019.
The Trump government has put an end to TPS for Haitians and Nicaraguans. The first, numbering some 58,706, will lose their protection in July 2019, the second, with 5,349, will be gone on Jan. 5 of that year.
However, the White House has made an exception for Honduras, whose government it considers a key ally and has provisionally extended TPS for its 87,163 beneficiaries until July 5, 2018, when the US Department of Homeland Security will offer a new ruling on the matter.