Feds Blame 2001 Earthquake For El Salvadoran Amnesty

Brittany M. Hughes | July 12, 2016
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Under yet another amnesty program by another name, the Department of Homeland Security has once again extended Temporary Protection Status to El Salvador, citing an earthquake that happened more than 15 years ago as the reason why tens of thousands of Salvadorans can’t return to their home country. But don't worry -- it's temporary. In the announcement, DHS stated:

El Salvador was originally designated for TPS following two separate earthquakes in 2001. The first earthquake, on January 13, registered 7.6 in magnitude on the standard seismic scale; the second, on February 13, measured 6.6 in magnitude. Over 3,000 aftershocks hit El Salvador in the aftermath of the earthquakes, including those with 5.1 and 5.6 magnitudes in late February 2001.

You read that right. An earthquake that occurred back in January of 2001 is apparently a great excuse for the some 212,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the United States under TPS status since 2001 to remain in the country. That total doesn’t include their American-born kids.

TPS status was originally intended for non-permanent residents living in the U.S. whose country had experienced some unforeseen disaster that prevented the alien from going back home. But, fun fact – aliens who were in the country illegally at the time of the TPS designation are eligible to receive TPS protection, along with all its benefits, under the excuse that they can’t go back to their own country (even if they were never planning to in the first place).

This is the 12th time the government has renewed El Salvador’s TPS status.

But if a 15-year-old earthquake isn’t a good enough reason to give these Salvadorans a pass, DHS had an almost laughable litany of other reasons why El Salvador can’t repatriate their own citizens, including:

  • Subsequent natural disasters
  • Environmental challenges
  • Hurricanes
  • Tropical storms
  • Heavy rains
  • Flooding
  • Volcanic activity
  • More earthquakes
  • An “ongoing coffee rust epidemic”
  • Droughts
  • Low-yield harvests
  • Dengue fever
  • Chikungunya (a mosquito-born virus)
  • Lack of housing
  • Lack of drinkable water
  • Gang violence
  • Inflation
  • Problems with extortion
  • Government instability
  • Unemployment
  • Police corruption

Frankly, if these are all legitimate reasons why El Salvadorans can’t return to their own country, then it seems downright criminal that half the underdeveloped world hasn’t also been granted this generous protection.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, El Salvadorans currently make up about 62 percent of the total number of TPS-protected aliens in the United States. The number of TPS-protected El Salvadorans in the U.S. is more than three times higher than the next largest TPS category, which is made up of Hondurans.

Despite the claim that El Salvador appears to be suffering from every problem under the sun, the government insists that this ever-extended protection is, in fact, temporary, stating:

El Salvador continues to be unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador).

“Temporarily.” With no end in sight.

If anyone actually thinks this program has a prayer of being reversed at this point, I’m trying to offload some waterfront property in Kansas.

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