McGovern Condemns Trump Move to End Protected Status for Immigrants from El Salvador

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and leading voice on U.S. foreign policy on Central America, released the following statement condemning the move by President Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to end Temporary Protected Status for more than 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who came to the United States seeking safety.

“Today’s move by President Trump to end the protections for these immigrants is sadly just his latest attack on these valued and important members of our communities. The Temporary Protected Status program has helped to provide refuge to thousands of immigrant families from El Salvador and throughout the region desperately fleeing warfare, violence, and disaster. El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world and there are few immigrants more deserving of this essential protection.

“America has a proud legacy as a beacon of hope to the world, welcoming those who seek a better life. This decision by President Trump and Secretary Nielsen is a shameful and cynical move to punish these innocent families just to score political points with the extreme right wing Republican base. I am angry and dismayed at this cruel decision. It is a very distorted and narrow interpretation of the law, which provides flexibility to weigh current realities and not just the effects of the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador.

“I helped draft the TPS law when I worked for Representative Joe Moakley in the 1980s. It was designed to be more concerned with protection than with duration. We must never play politics with people’s lives. America is better than this and I will do all I can in the next 18 months to fight this terrible decision and work with my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to help regularize the residency status of long-term TPS holders.”

In December 2017, Congressman McGovern sent a letter directly to Secretary Nielsen urging the administration to extend, not terminate, TPS for Salvadorans here in the U.S. In September 2017, Congressman McGovern led a bipartisan letter signed by 116 Members of Congress asking that TPS for El Salvador and Honduras be extended. In addition, a letter from leading Republicans at the time asked for the same.