US Gov’t to End El Salvador Temporary Protected Status

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MCALLEN – People from El Salvador are on notice. The Department of Homeland Security said more than 200,000 Salvadorans with the federal program Temporary Protected Status are in danger of deportation.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS visited with the consulate’s office twice, the Catholic Charities Respite Center, the bus stop and Alzalduas Park near the United States-Mexico border.

The locations were empty. A restaurant was the only place speaking about the announcement.

A pupusa is a Salvadoran dish with a mixture of different ingredients packed inside a corn tortilla. This infused group of foods is a representation of Mario Chicas’ home and restaurant. It’s a melting pot.

"There are many occasions since we opened this place that I had one table with El Salvadorans, one table from Guatemala and Honduras and so on. And it's great to hear people conversing and exchanging a remembering,” said Chicas.

Chicas became a U.S. citizen in the 1970s.

"There was a process that I went through. It wasn't just given to me,” said Chicas.

More than 200,000 others chose a different route. It's the topic of the day in his restaurant.

It's the latest item on the government's menu; the ending of the Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans.

This allows those who entered illegally to have temporary legal status to work and live here.

El Salvador was granted TPS due to the earthquakes in 2001. The Department of Homeland Security says the conditions in that country improved.

"I think they'll come out with something else as you the TPS has been extended a couple of times. Every presidency or every change of government or whatever it maybe it gets extended and it gets extended,” said Chicas.

Valley immigration attorney Carlos Garcia disagrees.

"I think this is it. I think the government is deciding to terminate TPS for El Salvadorans,” said Garcia.

Garcia is already preparing his clients.

"We've already started getting phone calls people are worried about it and so we need to figure out if there's anything we can do for them,” said Garcia.

Chicas stays optimistic.

"If I'm going to say something to my people is relax and breathe and take it easy. I mean. This country is very benevolent. It's the greatest country in the world. And I believe that something great is going to come out of all this,” said Chicas.

The government is giving Salvadorans 18 months to prepare for deportation. The ending of TPS El Salvador goes into effect on Sept. 9, 2019.

Texas U.S. Representative Filemon Vela said more than 30,000 workers from El Salvador with TPS status live in the state of Texas.

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