Extending Temporary Status for El Salvador: Country Conditions and U.S. Legal Requirements
51 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2017 Last revised: 7 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 2017
In March 2001, the U.S. government announced the designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation was premised on the significant disruptions and damage caused by two earthquakes that had ravaged El Salvador in January and February 2001. TPS for El Salvador has been extended over the years, and the current period of designation is set to expire in early March 2018. In the current political moment, there is concern about whether this TPS designation will be extended once again. Recent reporting suggests that the Department of State has recommended to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS be terminated for El Salvador and other countries.
This report provides a background on TPS, and also undertakes a detailed examination of the justifications offered over the years for extending TPS for El Salvador. Each of these past extension decisions concluded, as required by the TPS statute, that El Salvador is not able to adequately handle the return of its nationals who are residing in the U.S. with TPS. Our analysis reveals that the U.S. government has premised these past extension decisions on six categories of factors: climate and environment; economy; infrastructure; public health; safety and security; and governance.
Drawing on ongoing research on country conditions in El Salvador carried out by American University and research institutions in the region, the report proceeds to assess this same broad range of country condition factors in present-day El Salvador. Findings support the conclusion that TPS for El Salvador should be extended. Consideration of this country condition evidence is compelled by an analysis of prior TPS extension decisions.
Keywords: El Salvador, Temporary Protected Status, immigration law, country conditions
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