What’s next for Salvadorans in Texas after TPS cancellation?


Texas immigrant advocates denounced White House decision to end temporary protected status for El Salvador.

Salvadoran TPS recipients have until Sept. 9, 2019, to legally stay in the United States.

American Gateways, one of Texas’ largest immigration legal service providers, called on the Trump administration to rescind Monday’s decision to end legal protection for more than 36,000 Salvadoran residents who were legally allowed to live and work in this country through temporary protected status.

The organization joined numerous immigrant advocates across the country who denounced the White House decision to end the decades-long program, commonly called TPS, and called on Congress to find a permanent legislative solution.

“Over almost two decades, our clients have diligently re-registered for this status: paying fees, submitting to background checks, and enduring the persistent ambiguity surrounding the future of the lives they have built in this community,” American Gateways wrote in a statement. “To terminate the TPS program now, without any pathway to remain in the United States, is a betrayal of American values.”

RELATED: Poll finds most Texans think DACA program should be extended

El Salvador gained TPS designation in 2001 after a powerful earthquake and multiple aftershocks killed an estimated 1,100 people and resulted in more than 2,500 missing residents. Its TPS designation had been continuously renewed since then due to El Salvador’s gang-related violence as well as food and water insecurity. Now Salvadoran TPS recipients have until Sept. 9, 2019, to legally stay in the United States.

“The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador is heartbreaking,” said Austin’s Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, who is also chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s committee on migration. “As detailed in our recent delegation trip report to the region, El Salvador is currently not in a position to adequately handle the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients (across the country). Today’s decision will fragment American families, leaving over 192,000 U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran TPS recipients with uncertain futures. Families will be needlessly separated because of this decision.”

Austin-based immigration lawyer Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch said her law firm has been reaching out to affected clients to educate them about lawful alternatives to staying in the country.

“There’s still a deportation system that has to be followed,” she said. (Salvadoran TPS recipients) should talk about their individual situations with their attorneys.”

MORE: Local spike in immigration detentions echoed across state

Lincoln-Goldfinch also cautioned that affected families be on the lookout for potential scams and recommended they seek advice only from licensed attorneys and credible nonprofit groups. Members of the Salvadoran community should look out for announcements about TPS re-registration in the coming days and weeks, according to American Gateways, which has offices in Austin, San Antonio and Waco.

“People are just feeling weary,” Lincoln-Goldfinch said. “They’re anxious about what’s coming next.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Beto O’Rourke nearly triples Ted Cruz fundraising in 2018
Beto O’Rourke nearly triples Ted Cruz fundraising in 2018

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has raised nearly three times as much money as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke, a third-term Democratic congressman from El Paso, has raised $2.3 million through Feb. 14 toward his U.S. Senate campaign. Cruz, a Houston Republican seeking his second term, raised $800,000. While O’Rourke touted his bounty...
Workers gather at state Capitol to defend labor unions’ rights

More than a dozen people marched Saturday from the Capitol to a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on the University of Texas campus to defend workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. The event, called the Working People’s Day of Action, was held in conjunction with similar marches across the country Saturday, which was the 50th...
George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff
George P. Bush absent from candidate forums as rivals gun for a runoff

In 2014, the future belonged to George P. Bush. Elected to statewide office his first time out, out-polling even Greg Abbott, he was the scion of one of America’s great political dynasties. He was the grandson and nephew of presidents and the son of someone who, at that moment, looked like he might have been about to become president. Young and...
Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems
Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems

As lawyers and scientists continue to review hundreds of criminal cases that might have been affected by the Austin Police Department’s now-shuttered DNA lab, members of a stakeholders advisory group have started meeting to evaluate what went wrong and how to avoid mistakes in the future. The lab shut down in 2016 after a state audit found problems...
Perilous times for historically black colleges
Perilous times for historically black colleges

Two years ago, Amelia Smith received the one thing she thought she always wanted – a blue envelope from Spelman College. She had been accepted to what many consider the finest black college in America. Her grandmother went to Spelman. So did her mother. And her aunt. And her sister, who’s a senior there now. So Smith wasn’t surprised...
More Stories