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The attorney general candidate has some scathing words for the Trump administration about this decision. By Geoff Dempsey, Patch Staff

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General candidate Jesse Ruiz released a statement Monday responding to the Trump administration’s announcement that it would give 200,000 legal Salvadorian immigrants, here under a humanitarian program, until September 2019 to leave the country or find another legal status.


I am horrified by the Trump administration’s announcement today that the United States will end a humanitarian program that allowed nearly 200,000 Salvadorans to live safely in this country.

I call on Congress to stand up to Donald Trump and his administration’s racist attacks on our most vulnerable communities. It’s time to pass the SECURE Act and offer the people living under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) a pathway to legal permanent residency in America.

The TPS program was made available to people from El Salvador in 2001, in the wake of two devastating earthquakes that claimed more than 1,000 lives. President Bush and President Obama both extended the program, to protect Salvadorans from the crime and violence that afflicts their country.

Today, El Salvador has the world’s second-highest murder rate, and many of the impoverished people who remain in the country are dependent on financial support from family members living in the United States and other countries. The Salvadoran government had urged Trump to extend the program, given that the country has been experiencing a catastrophic drought – one of the official listed criteria for inclusion in the Temporary Protected Status program.

In a heartless move, administration officials ignored the pleas of the Salvadoran government and relief workers. Now 200,000 Salvadorans ­– many of them parents of young U.S.-born children – are facing massive disruption of their lives as they are being forced to return to their poverty-stricken homeland. The Trump administration also has announced plans to rescind protections for almost 60,000 Haitians who came to the United States after the 2010 earthquake, as well as thousands of Nicaraguans.

These Salvadorans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans have been living here and paying taxes for many years. America has become their home, and we are a stronger nation because of their contributions to our economy and our communities.

More information on El Salvador and the TPS program is available here: