Juan Carlos Vidal, a Salvadoran immigrant, has worked his way from kitchen assistant, to opening up four Boston-area restaurants and employing more than 20 people. He is the epitome of the American dream, but his life could soon become a nightmare.
Vidal is one of the approximately 300,000 immigrants who have had permission to live and work in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Some of these immigrants, including TPS recipients from El Salvador and Honduras, have lived here for decades now, and they are parents to nearly a quarter of a million U.S. citizen kids.
But, Fabiola Santiago writes, “for no valid reason whatsoever and without regard to the inhospitable conditions of their countries of origin—or for their deep roots in U.S. communities—President Donald Trump revoked their temporary protected status, or TPS, and these families face imminent deportation deadlines.”
The administration is set to make a decision regarding protections for Somali immigrants by July 19, which could affect as many as 800 people. Salvadorans are by far the largest group of TPS recipients, at about 195,000. But whether it’s one family or 1,000,000 families, the administration is creating, Santiago says, yet another large scale family separation crisis.
“Do they take their American children with them to live in a violent, poor and unstable country?” she asks. “Or do they leave them behind in the United States, where they’re more likely to live in a democracy with better prospects for a safer and more prosperous life? It’s either that or take their children and bolt into the shadows before ICE comes for them, becoming part of the undocumented population.”
Sara Mohamed, a Somali TPS recipient, is afraid she may soon have to make that choice. “My husband has had TPS since 1992. What we have in this country is a life that we cannot have back in Somalia,” she said during an America’s Voice press call. “We want our children, who are American citizens, to go to college here and build their lives in this country. The U.S. is all our children know.”