El Salvadoran immigrants and Temporary Protected Status

In 1980, 95,000 Salvadoran immigrants lived in the U.S. Today 1.17 million do. A total of 2.1 million, which includes immigrants and their American-born children, constitute the third-largest Hispanic group in the United States, after those of Mexican and Puerto Rican origin, according to the Pew Research Center. Roughly. About 600,000 of the 1.17 million immigrants are here illegally. 265,000 live in Los Angeles. 165,000 live in the D.C. area.

Remittances, which mostly come from the United States totaled $4.58 billion in 2016, representing 17% of the country’s economy (Gross Domestic Product).

Generations of Salvadorans have left in search of land and work. Neighboring Honduras was once a crucial demographic escape valve. A 1969 war closed it, and disrupted the Central American common market, destabilizing El Salvador politically. There was a savage 1979-1992 civil war between U.S.-supported governments and Marxist guerrillas. That conflict drove hundreds of thousands to the United States, establishing a migratory pattern that continues to this day.

Very few Salvadorans, about 10%, who arrived as immigrants had a high school degree, but about 50% of second generation Salvadorans do.

Temporary Protected Status

Following a series of earthquakes in 2001, the U.S. granted Temporary Protected Status to 217,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. Prior to leaving office in January 2001, the Clinton Administration said it would temporarily halt deportations to El Salvador because of a major earthquake. In 2001, the George W. Bush Administration decided to grant TPS to Salvadoran nationals following two earthquakes that rocked the country. Temporary Protected Status provides temporary lawful status to foreign nationals in the United States from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances that prevent their safe return. TPS was established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. (From here.)

On January 8, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it is removing TPS status effective September, 2019.  About 20,000 Salvadorans are in DACA status.

Other sources: Washington Post and the Migration Policy Institute


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