Trump administration to decide on protected status for Salvadorans

Posted: Updated:
BRENTWOOD -

An important deadline is looming for an estimated 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the United States with lawful status for more than a decade. 

The Trump administration will be deciding soon whether they get an extension on the Temporary Protected Status that grants them work permits, which allows them to work legally, get driver's licenses and attend school. 

The protections date back to 2001 after an earthquake killed nearly 1,000 people and destroyed thousands of homes. 

Stephanie Flores, 13, was born in Glen Cove and goes to Locust Valley Middle School. She is an American citizen, but her mother, Maria Serrano, is not. Serrano came to the U.S. 16 years ago with protected status and lives here legally. 

If the status is revoked, people like Serrano would face deportation, but their American-born children would not. Stephanie could have to make the choice to stay in the U.S. alone, or move to El Salvador, if the Trump administration doesn't renew TPS.  

"I would really have no one to stay with," Stephanie told News 12. "I try to avoid thinking about it, but I always have those thoughts and it gets me worried."

Rosa Romero, of Bay Shore, also has temporary protected status.

"I work here. I have my own business here. So, going back to El Salvador is like starting from zero again," says Romero. 

Romero has attended rallies in Washington recently to lobby politicians to renew El Salvador's protected status. She says her American-born 11-year-old daughter's anxiety over the issue has been heartbreaking.

Recent decisions on the renewal of TPS for other immigrant groups don't bode well for them. The Trump administration decided not to renew protections for nearly 59,000 Haitians in November. 

There are close to 25,000 Salvadorans in New York, many of whom live on Long Island. 

The Trump administration's decision is expected to be made Friday or next Monday.

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