Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Catholic Groups Decry End Of Immigration Protection For Salvadorans

By Rhina Guidos
Salvadorans depart following a news conference Jan. 8 at the New York Immigration Coalition in Manhattan following U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement to end the Temporary Protected Status for immigrants. (CNS photo/Andrew Kelly, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week – a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims – the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the country and one that includes many Catholics.

            More than 200,000 Salvadorans, living under a special immigration status in the U.S., now face the prospect of staying in the country illegally or returning to a nation designated as one of the most dangerous in the world not at war, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on Jan. 8 that it was ending a provision called Temporary Protected Status after Sept. 9, 2019.

            "The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country's original designation was based," DHS said in a statement. Salvadorans affected can apply to stay under a different program, if they qualify, or make plans to return to their home country, the statement continued.

In a statement, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, said the administration's decision was "heartbreaking."

            "We believe that God has called us to care for the foreigner and the marginalized ... Our nation must not turn its back on TPS recipients and their families; they too are children of God," he said.

            While urging Congress to find a solution, Bishop Vasquez said the USCCB stands in solidarity with Salvadoran TPS recipients and that the bishops would continue to pray for them, their families, "and all those who are displaced or forced to flee from their homes."