Salvadoran-born bootmaker Luis Jovel has visited the White House under the Bush Administration and even handmade a pair of boots to help bridge the friendship between California and México.
Like millions of immigrants, he’s angered by the announcement from the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) for Salvadorans living in the U.S. Last year Haitans, Nicaraguans were Hondurans were given the same notice with different termination dates.
TPS protects immigrants forced to leave their countries in matters of natural disasters, civil war and other calamities, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The TPS program was created in 1990, set up by Congress and signed by former president George H.W. Bush. Salvadorans were allowed to enter the U.S. under the TPS program when in 2001, their country was devastated with at least two earthquakes.
An estimated 300,000 immigrants from 10 countries reside in the U.S. under the TPS program: Honduras, Somalia, Haiti, Syria, Yemen, El Salvador, Sudan and south Sudan, Nepal, Nicaragua.
The following notice is on the Department of Homeland Security website regarding Salvadorans:
Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for El Salvador with a delayed effective date of 18 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on Sept. 9, 2019.
Under President Donald J. Trump’s administration approximately 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States will have until Sept. 9, 2019 to leave. Salvadorans will have the opportunity to obtain permanent residential status in the U.S. through green cards.
“The DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) kids have been organizing struggling and fighting for their rights,” said Jovel, 62, last Tuesday morning working in his Fresno boot shop and listening to NPR talk radio.
“Central Americans: The people from Honduras, the people from Nicaragua, we should have been organized a long time ago especially when Trump got into the White House because we knew what was coming from him.”
Jovel, who seems angry on two fronts: the administration and Salvadorans for not organizing earlier.
“It’s going to affect not only the people who are here, but the people in El Salvador because the people coming (returning to El Salvador) cannot find work or Mala Salvatruchas is going to increase,” said Jovel.
While all Salvadorans, and other immigrants listed, will be affected, Jovel believes young adults will be greatly impacted.
He escaped the tyranny of war and gangs of El Salvador in the early 1980s and settled, undocumented, on a life in the United States. Upon his arrival to the U.S. and starting anew, he was constantly paranoid of arrest and being sent back to El Salvador, where, he said, authorities or the gangs would have killed him for leaving.
“There’s going to be worse violence in El Salvador because they’re going to think these people are bringing back money. Some of the kids who came here in 2001 and go back now, it’s kind of a lifetime, they are not Salvadorans anymore. They came as kids, like the DACA, they are like more United States.”
More about Jovel:
Jovel has not heard any news of organization among his friends in the Fresno area. He’s hoping the U.S. government could offer pardons for some people as the 2019 deadline approaches, but is worried many Salvadorans will not have a path to U.S. citizenship or a green card.