When President Donald Trump and his team promised largely white supporters a less inclusive America, both along the campaign trail and through executive policy, they meant it. A mere week after millions in America celebrated the new year, set positive resolutions and began the transition back into traditional work weeks, the Department of Homeland Security sucker punched El Salvador nationals who have legally lived and worked in the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielson announced the departmental decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) protection for El Salvador, a Central American nation plagued by civil war and gang violence. El Salvador also experienced severe earthquakes in 2001 that left many people’s lives in literal ruin. The delayed effective date allows 18 months for a status change before the protected status ends on September 9, 2019.

Practically, securing the legal papers and community support necessary to remain in an increasingly hostile climate will not be easy. One example: The Motel 6 chain is embroiled in a lawsuit for turning in the “Latino sounding” names of motel guests to immigration officials.

The El Salvador TPS announcement garnered instant fury.

“They have resettled, established their families and lives here in the United States. Most of them see themselves much more as American citizens than Salvadoran citizens and to end that protection and program is going to disrupt many communities across the United States,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, told CNN on Monday. “It’s inhumane and not consistent with American values.”

Lest people believe all Republican leadership quietly sat and agreed with the shift, a Florida GOP lawmaker also quickly spoke up.

“These innocent people fled their home country after a disastrous earthquake, and while living conditions may have slightly improved, El Salvador now faces a significant problem with drug trafficking, gangs and crime,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said in a statement. “Since 2001, these people have established themselves in the United States, making countless contributions to our society and our local communities. It would be devastating to send them home after they have created a humble living for themselves and their families.”

Apparently, there’s nothing quite like wrecking Black and Brown lives during the holidays. Around Thanksgiving, a 10-year-old Haitian American girl named Christina Ponthieux released a video pleading with the president to protect Haitian people’s protected status.


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