South Florida Salvadorans 'Processing' How Ending TPS Will Affect Community

Jan 9, 2018
Originally published on January 9, 2018 11:34 am

The Trump Administration announced Monday it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans living in the country. South Florida’s Salvadoran population is relatively small - but the TPS ruling will still be felt here.

That was already evident Monday at Mi Ranchito, a Salvadoran restaurant in Miami's Little Havana, where the lunch crowd was thinner than usual. Owner Jose Hernandez wasn’t surprised: he said the federal government’s decision to end TPS for Salvadorans caused many to stay home, whether they hold TPS or not.

“The fear and uncertainty will force them to hide for a while,” Hernandez said. “It will take them time to process what this means.”

What it means is that 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the U.S. under TPS will have to leave by September 2019 unless they find a new way to legalize their immigration status.

Only about 60,000 of the 2 million Salvadorans living in the U.S. reside in Florida. But the mass deportation of Salvadoran TPS holders could still have an adverse social and economic effect here.

“I know a lot of [Salvadoran] TPS holders who’ve lived here for two decades,” Hernandez said. “They’re customers and business owners and community leaders themselves.”

Hernandez added they’re also afraid to go back to El Salvador – where violent gangs have given the country the world’s highest murder rate.

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