About 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S. are now vulnerable to deportation. The Trump administration announced today that it is canceling the Temporary Protected Status of Salvadorans who came to the U.S. after an earthquake struck the Central American country almost two decades ago.
"Temporary Protected Status is usually granted to nationals of certain countries where there's been some sort of natural disaster, ongoing armed conflict or other temporary extraordinary circumstances," said Jean Riesz, clinical teaching fellow at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.
About 30,000 Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status live in Southern California, according to Riesz.
"It's not a pathway to citizenship," Reisz said. "It doesn't get you the right to petition a relative. It allows you a work permit authorization, travel authorization during circumstances, and it allows you to remain in the United States."
But the TPS program does not prevent anyone from gaining citizenship or residence by other means. Some may have married a U.S. citizen in their time here and were eligible for permanent residence through a spouse, for example.
Reisz said that with the TPS protections set to expire, it's possible that many will be looking for other solutions to stay in the country.
"You may see certain TPS holders seeking asylum now," Reisz said. "But they have to be eligible for some other kind of immigration relief, which is usually family-based non-immigrant visas, work visas, that kind of thing."