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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan signed an agreement with El Salvador on Monday, giving Salvadorans covered by the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS) an extra year to return to their home country. Currently, there are around 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. under the special, temporary status, which is provided to people who are unable to return to their home country due to violence or catastrophe. A federal court has temporarily blocked the administration from ending the program for El Salvador earlier this year.

The new agreement is part of a series of deals DHS has signed with Central American nations that could force migrants to seek asylum in places like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala instead of the U.S. The Trump administration recently announced it will resume foreign aid to the three nations. In return, El Salvador will work with U.S. immigration officials to bolster their own border and immigration enforcement efforts in an attempt to slow the flow of migrants heading to the U.S.

El Salvador was designated for Temporary Protected Status in March of 2001 after a devastating earthquake and has been extended multiple times, including by the Trump Administration. Yet, following a disastrous pattern when it comes to TPS, El Salvadore's rate of increase for tourism has outpaced worldwide averages (8.97% to 4.5%) and the country welcomes 1.27 million tourists every year while Congress and the courts continue to deam El Salvador too dangerous for its citizens to return home.

According to Pew Research, migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala overwhelmingly cite work as a reason for coming to the U.S. In addition, according to the Center for Migration Studies, the average Salvadoran with TPS moved to the U.S. illegally four years before the earthquakes.

According to a press release from DHS:

The Trump Administration is extending the validity of work permits for El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through January 4, 2021. Additionally, the Trump Administration is providing El Salvadorans with TPS an additional 365 days after the conclusion of the TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate back to their home country.

Under President Bukele’s leadership, El Salvador has been a trusted and reliable partner in addressing the crisis at the southwest border and repatriating Salvadorian nationals. The U.S. looks forward to El Salvador’s continued cooperation building asylum capacity and commitment to stopping illegal migration in the region. The United States is the most humanitarian country on earth and will continue to be.

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Updated: Mon, Nov 11th 2019 @ 3:15pm EST