Move those on TPS status to permanent residency

My friend Jose Artiga, executive director of the SHARE Foundation, asked me to share this open letter to the editor, timed to coincide with president Obama's visit to El Salvador.

Dear Editor,

This March, US President Barack Obama will visit Chile, Brazil and El Salvador as part of a major initiative to renew and strengthen ties between our countries. This visit to El Salvador coincides with the 31st anniversary of the assassination of Monsignor Oscar Romero, the archbishop who fought against great odds on behalf of the oppressed.

President Obama’s visit to El Salvador is historic; marking the first time a U.S. President will meet with President Mauricio Funes of the FMLN in El Salvador after the twelve year Civil War and nearly two decades of right wing rule. This visit represents a new chapter in US-Salvadoran relations and raises hope and expectations for a constructive working partnership.

According to the US Census, today, 1.7 million Salvadorans live in the United States. Salvadorans represent the third largest Hispanic community in the U.S. after Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Close to one million Salvadorans are U.S. citizens.

We participate in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the United States. We have born and raised our children here. We have constructed small and large businesses, been elected to local, state and national political offices, shared our art, food and music. We are teachers and students, engineers and electricians, health care providers, non profit employees, gardeners, janitors and executives.

We celebrate the wonderful mosaic of cultures that make up the United States of America. We vote in local, state and presidential elections. We are part of the rich fabric of the American family. We preserve a strong link to El Salvador; we have organized dozens of Associations to support our places of origin within El Salvador, and provide vital economic resources, sending over three billion dollars in annual remittances.

For the last decade, over 200,000 Salvadorans have resided in the U.S. legally under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – granted by the Bush, Jr. Administration in the aftermath of the 2001 earthquakes which devastated El Salvador. These Salvadorans work, study, pay taxes and do business. To qualify for the renewal of their TPS every 18 months, they have demonstrated they are in full compliance with U.S. laws.

On the occasion of President Obama’s first visit to El Salvador, the Salvadoran American National Council is asking President Obama to use his authority and establish an executive process using existing laws such as the cancellation of removal to allow those qualifying and with Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to adjust their status to permanent residency.

Granting permanent residence to this community is a creative way to support immigrants that want to play by the rules, and that have a ten year excellent track record of being law abiding and hard working members of the community. It will be consistent with the US tradition of keeping families together.

Such action is not without precedent. In 1992, during the transition from the Bush, Sr. to the Clinton Administration, former President Bill Clinton changed the TPS status into a DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) and later many Central Americans, Cubans and people from the former Soviet Union were allowed to apply for permanent residency.

Please join me, the Salvadoran American National Council, and hundreds of churches of all faiths in the US in asking President Obama to fortify the bonds between the US and El Salvador by taking these 200,000 Salvadorans in the US from their 10 year old temporary status to a permanent residence.

Jose Artiga
Executive Director, SHARE Foundation
co-President Salvadoran-American National Council

Jose Artiga is the Executive Director of the SHARE Foundation ( and Co-President of the Salvadoran American National Council. SHARE strengthens solidarity with and among the Salvadoran people in El Salvador and the United States in the struggle for economic sustainability, justice, human and civil rights. The Salvadoran Council is a membership organization committed to strengthening democracy and the social and economic development of all Salvadorans.


especial417 said…
I think this is a great idea! How do we best support this? I couldn't find anything on the website.
especial417 said…
Tim, what can we do to help with this?
Unknown said…
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