Salvadorans both in Chicago and across the U.S. could be deported after the Trump administration announced it would end special protections for immigrants from the country.
According to a WGN report, the co-founder and chief legal counsel for Centre Romero in Rogers Park, Jose Manuel Ventura, says hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans left their country due to earthquakes that hit the region back in 2001.
In Chicagoland, there are about 40,000 Salvadorans, according to the news outlet. Many of those Salvadorans have been there since they were granted temporary protected status or TPS back in 2001, Ventura told WGN. Those who have not applied for legal permanent residency may have to go back once that protected status does end. The news outlet reports that there is an estimated 1,300 such people living in Illinois along with their 1,000 U.S.-born children, according to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
“It’s a whole life – it’s about 20 years, so they don’t have anything back in their country of origin because they’ve been living here,” Ventura said to WGN.
The news outlet reported that Ventura cannot understand why exactly the administration has canceled their residency permits when Salvadoran immigrants came the U.S. for a better life – so many years ago.
“They’ve been paying their taxes, they’ve been working legally… [President Trump] has no reason whatsoever why to do this,” Ventura said to WGN.
According to the news outlet, Centre Romero has worked as a community organization as well as educational center for 700 plus Salvadorans in their neighborhood since 1984. This past Monday, staff managed dozens of phone calls and emails from immigrants who were concerned, informing them they do have until September 2018 to obtain legal residency or be forced to leave the U.S.
But Ventura says until then, he will continue to encourage local Salvadorans not to give up hope yet.
“They may be able to apply for something else to become a legal permanent resident, but some of them don’t have anything, so it’s a case-by-case basis,” Ventura said to WGN.