This Immigration Policy Just Let 194,000 Illegal Immigrants Stick Around

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The government is allowing 194,000 illegal immigrants to stay because El Salvadore is supposedly too dangerous to send them back, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS).

UCIS has a classification for illegal immigrants from certain countries called Temporary Protected Status Designated Countries, known as TPS. Then-President George W. Bush gave 194,000 people from El Salvador TPS March 9, 2001. UCIS announced it’s extending that TPS July 8. Tuesday was the last day in a 60-day window for Salvadorans to re-register with UCIS as beneficiaries of TPS, to remain in the U.S. through March 9, 2018.

Besides granting temporary residency to those who re-register with UCIS, TPS allows users to get an automatic extension for a Employment Authorization Document (EAD), letting the Salvadorans work while in the U.S. TPS status is granted to countries at the discretion of the secretary of Homeland Security.

On its website, UCIS explains that a TPS designation can be assigned to a country for various reasons, including, “ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war), An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic, other extraordinary and temporary conditions.”

Ultimately, the citizens of TPS countries cannot be deported within their allotted registration period according to UCIS policy but according to the DHS body, “TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.” While enjoying the benefits allotted to them by TPS though, these favored illegal immigrants are allowed to, “apply for non-immigrant status, file for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition, and apply for any other immigration benefit or protection for which they may be eligible,” according to UCIS.

While an illegal immigrant is living under the protection of TPS, they cannot be deported and may even be authorized to embark on a certain amount of travel with UCIS permission. El Salvador is home to notorious street gang MS-13, which is highly active in the U.S., and has been designated as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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