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Trump Administration plans to end protected status for 200K Salvadorians in U.S.

President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans living legally in the United States, including 2,000 in Rhode Island, will be illegal in September 2019.

The Trump Administration announced it will end their residency permits, issued under the Temporary Protected Status program, or TPS.

"There's absolutely no way to become a citizen if you come in through TPS," said Gabriela Domenzain, who is the director of Roger Williams University’s Latino Policy Institute.

The program was designed to provide refuge for foreigners displaced by natural disasters in countries with alliances with the United States.

But it has been criticized by the Trump administration as an example of immigration policies gone wrong. The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement about the El Salvadoran status, “the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist.”

Critics say the move will destabilize El Salvador, and American communities where some Salvadorans have been living for more than 20 years.

“He’s giving them a choice -- go back to one of the most dangerous countries in the world, or stay here and live completely in the shadows," Domenzain said of Trump's decision to end TPS. “They go into the shadows like all the other undocumented immigrants. So, really what he’s doing is increasing this 11 million number (of estimated undocumented immigrants.)"

Congress could take action to avert the deportation by passing a law addressing the status of those covered under TPS.

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