There are more than a quarter of a million people from El Salvador living in the U.S. who could see their temporary protected status (TPS) disappear by March 2018.
If so, they could be deported. Or they may cross illegally into Canada, as thousands of Haitians continue to do.
According to the Canadian Press, border officials in both Canada and the U.S. are worried that the next surge of illegals will be the Salvadorans.
Officials in Canada and the U.S. are concerned that the next wave of asylum seekers at the border could be a population far bigger than the Haitians crossing now. They have not been authorized to speak publicly about their expectations but say at least there is no social media campaign ongoing that is encouraging people from El Salvador to seek asylum in Canada — as there has been in the expatriate Haitian community living in the U.S.
The government of El Salvador doesn’t want the migrants back — not now — and is requesting that President Donald Trump extend the temporary protected status of the nationals living in the U.S.
Foreign Minster Hugo Martinez told the Voice of America Friday that it would not be a good time for those 260,000 refugees to return to El Salvador because the country has been wracked by tropical storms and drought in the last five years.
“We’ve told the U.S. also that, of course they had their reasons initially for granting TPS in 2001 — the instability following the earthquakes in January and February of 2001 — and while we have overcome some of that instability, unfortunately we’ve suffered other catastrophes,” Martinez said.
The U.S. first allowed the Salvadorans into the U.S. in March 2001 after a earthquakes rocked the small Central American country.
Martinez did not comment on the potential of the contingent making tracks for Canada if their TPS is canceled next year.
Although Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there is “no advantage” to crossing illegally into Canada, the executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees said on Saturday that this government line is “obviously false.”
Janet Dench told the HuffPost Canada that Trudeau’s words seem “like a strange strategy…The reason that people come irregularly is because that is the way to avoid the Safe Country Agreement. I don’t understand on what basis you could say you don’t have an advantage by doing it. I mean, the advantage is you can make a claim [while] you would be immediately found not eligible if you presented yourself at a point of entry,” she said.
The Trudeau government actually dispatched one of its Members of Parliament (MP) to Miami last week to speak to Haitians who were thinking of illegally entering Canada. The goal was said to be about correcting any misconceptions about Canada’s refugee system.
“We are trying to stop all irregular entries in Canada,” said MP Emmanuel Dubourg. “Canadian consulates in the U.S. are well involved.”