Dear Senator Kaine,As you are aware, On Monday, January 08, 2018, President Trump through the DHS, rescinded the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) of 200, 000 El Salvadorans living in the U.S. after the 2001 Salvadoran earthquake.
Yet, I was shocked to read on your website that you do not support this decision that benefits both Americans and the people of El Salvador.
The biggest foreign aid package we could give to El Salvador is 200,000 hardworking, fluent, English speakers, who can use their savings and skills learned while in the U.S. to build up the small nation’s economy. The decision will also free up jobs for American citizens including Virginians and other legal immigrants.
On Monday, DHS announced the decision saying:
The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated …
In the past several years, the U.S. government repatriated 39,000 people back to El Salvador—demonstrating that the temporary inability of El Salvador to return their nationals after the earthquake has been addressed.
The January 2001 earthquake occurred 17 years ago. There were no signs of the earthquake that I saw on my trips to El Salvador in 2010 and 2011 as a Foreign Service Auditor with USAID. In fact, what I saw was a beautiful country, with a thriving economy, packed full of friendly people and amazing historical treasures. Treasures that included the ancient Maya ruins of Tazumal and the well-preserved ruins of Joya de Cerén, a pre-Hispanic farming community, buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera Volcano in 640 AD. El Salvador has warm weather, beaches, rainforest, and history. Many of the TPS folks will undoubtedly find jobs using their English skills to develop El Salvador’s hospitality and tourist industries.
Trump’s decision may even help propel El Salvador to become the next Costa Rica.
Senator Kaine, you say on your website:
As a country, we opened our arms when they [TPS folks] came here seeking refuge, and we shouldn’t turn our backs on these families now by forcing them to return to countries plagued with violence.
We haven’t turned our backs on these people. We provided refuge for them for 17 years. Temporary means temporary and not permanent. The El Salvadorans under TPS, many of whom were in this country illegally, were fully aware that this was a temporary protective status, if for no other reason than by its name.
Regarding your comment on violence in El Salvador, I felt very safe during my travels throughout El Salvador. There are many areas in our nation’s capital that are plagued with violence. Even Fairfax County hasn’t escaped the scourge of MS-13 gang violence, including the brutal rape and murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassenen as she walked home from her mosque.
The TPS folks are known for their hard work. This drive can only help bring a higher standard of living for all El Salvadorans through job creation and investment of their savings in the local economy.
As important, the TPS folks will bring their learned American values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law (ROL), and they will undoubtedly demand the same freedoms and ROL from the government of El Salvador.
For the TPS folks who wish to stay in the U.S., they can apply for permanent status just like everybody else. Fair is fair.
Senator Kaine, I implore you, please stop hurting Americans and the people of El Salvador. Please support and embrace the largest intellectual transfer of skills and brain power in recent memory.