Salvadoran’s Know Your Rights Rights as TPS is Ending!

On Monday January 8, 2018, the Trump Administration announced that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador, who have been allowed to live in the United States for nearly two decades. TPS is a program that was signed into law by President, George H. Bush in 1990, and provided temporary lawful status and work authorization to people already in the United States, regardless of their status upon entry, from countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other country-wide problems.

TPS allowed Salvadorans who were affected by several earthquakes in 2001 to legally reside in the United States. Currently there is no provision in TPS to adjust the status of these individuals and allow them a pathway to become a lawful permanent resident or citizen. The Administration is terminating  the lawful status provided by TPS on September 2019.Thereafter, they will no longer have permission to remain in the United States, forcing them to decide to continue residing without status (illegally) or traveling back to El Salvador.

As it stands now, a TPS holder who would like to adjust to a permanent resident (green card) must have a legal basis to apply for permanent resident status or citizenship. This means that someone who is in the U.S. under TPS protection can not simply apply for a green card because they have been granted TPS. Below are some of the options that TPS holders should be aware of that may allow them to adjust to a legal permanent resident:

Family-Based Green Card

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, a parent who is a U.S. citizen, or you have a child over the age of 21 who is a U.S. citizen, they could petition for your green card.  Siblings of U.S. citizens can also be beneficiaries, as well as, children and spouses of lawful permanent residents (green card holders). In those cases though, the wait times vary and can be quite lengthy.

Employment-Based Green Card

If you have an employer willing to sponsor you, it is possible they may be able to petition for your green card.  The main thing to note about this pathway, is that if you have any unlawful presence or other immigration violation, you will need to obtain a waiver.  In all likelihood, you would not be eligible.


If you are afraid to return to your home country because you fear persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (such as sexual identity), you may be eligible for asylum.

U Visa

Victims of certain criminal offenses, such as felonious assault, sexual assault, trafficking, domestic violence, and even some workplace crimes may be eligible for a U visa.  When a U visa is granted it provides a pathway to a green card.

T Visa

T Visas are for victims of trafficking. The definition of trafficking under T Visas encompases a broader scope of possibilities for qualification. If you were forced to do something that you did not want to do on your journey to the U.S., or you had an abusive or bad employer since you have been in the U.S., you should explore qualifying for a T Visa.


VAWA provides a pathway for a green card for spouses of U.S. citizens and green card holders who have been subject to battery or extreme cruelty.


While many Salvadorans may not have a direct path to citizenship, there are legal options that should be discussed with an Immigration Attorney as soon as possible. Any petition to adjust status must be filed prior to September 2019.

For more information, visit: www.LineschFirm.com