Immigrants with temporary status are deeply rooted in the United States

Springdale, Arkansas (AP) — Irma Chavez is the mother of four married women who lead a business networking initiative in this little Arkansas City, which she calls home. It’s a long way from her life as a resident housekeeper in California a few years ago, and even as a kid working in a coffee field in El Salvador.

Persistently marking the path of a 44-year-old marketing specialist is a government program that allows people in affected and war-torn countries to legally live and work in the United States. President Joe Biden supports a bill that gives Chavez and hundreds of thousands of people like her a shot to become an American citizen while the Trump administration tries to cancel the program for many immigrants. ..

This is a major change from six months ago, when the court granted the Trump administration the right to suspend temporary protection status (TPS) in four countries, with many of the 411,000 recipients of the program returning home. I was afraid that it would be sent back.

Currently, these immigrants have fixed their hopes in the Senate after passing a drastic bill to allow the House of Representatives to call the United States their permanent home. Laws facing uncertain prospects provide an estimated 11 million people in the United States with an eight-year path to citizenship illegally, and Americans bring immigrants and TPS recipients to the country as children. Get on a faster track to become.

For Chavez, who lives in Springdale, Arkansas and has renewed his temporary status for 20 years, the law could put an end to the fear of deportation. It will also allow her to travel more easily to see her mother and sister in her humble Salvador’s hometown.

“We really want everything to change in our favor now,” Chavez said.

Although temporary, the program is subject to renewal by US authorities and is recurring. If supporters and critics agree on something, it means that the temporary program should not last for decades.

Last fall, there were 10 countries designated for the program by the US Secretary of Homeland Security. The Biden administration, which has eased some of Trump’s hard-line immigration policies and is facing an increase in immigration, recently added two, Myanmar and Venezuela.

More than half of the people with status are from El Salvador, which was designated for the program after the 2001 earthquake. Many have lived in the United States for decades and have no plans to return to a country where thousands of people leave each year in search of economic stability and security from gangsters.

Manuel Orosco, director of the Immigration Economic Stability Center at the development organization Creative Associates International, said that by giving these immigrants the ability to stay, many immigrants bought homes and are still out of the coronavirus pandemic. He said he could start investing in businesses in the upset US community.

“It seems logical because they are de facto Americans,” Orosco said. “It will definitely not only integrate them, but also strengthen their economic roots and create better conditions for improving the economy.”

In the suburbs of the city of Santa Anna in El Salvador, Chavez’s sister, Iris Franco, runs a bakery at home and delivers bread by bicycle. That’s how she supports herself and her four children. Their oldest is studying to be a doctor — the first in her family to attend college.

In 1994, the family reluctantly agreed that Chavez would head north to stay with his relatives in Los Angeles and work for three years. Initially, Chavez was a housekeeper, but later worked night shifts at a gas station.

Chavez got married and had a child, but decided to stay because he continued to send money home. Once I got a TPS, I got a better job in a store or restaurant, moved to Oklahoma, later to Arkansas, and finally to a chiropractor office.

Franco, 41, said his family lives humbly in El Salvador, but is getting better thanks to his sister’s help. Chavez sent money to cover her mother’s diabetes medication and helped Franco rebuild her home after the flood.

“It changed our lives. She helped us whatever she could do because we knew we had my sister there,” Franco said. I did.

The migration is not without its price. Franco remembers her sister crying when her mother was ill and couldn’t stay there, and when she missed on many Mother’s Day.

The sisters finally met each other four years ago when Chavez submitted documents to the US government to travel to El Salvador. After her trip, Chavez worked with Franco to start a non-profit organization to give children with school supplies and Christmas gifts in Salvador’s neighborhood.

In Arkansas, Chavez raises a husband and two young sons. A Brazilian-born chef at a well-known restaurant, he hopes to lead Springdale’s first Latino Chamber of Commerce while leading a networking initiative. Her eldest son got married this year and the next row works as a delivery driver. Both are from a previous marriage.

Mr Chavez said he was grateful for the government’s temporary position until the outcome of the proceedings demanding that the Trump administration end the program. However, she does not guarantee permanence in the United States.

TPS also does not solve her own immigration problem. The husband of a US citizen of Chavez sponsored her for a green card, but she needs an old immigration court order that has been cleared to apply.

Congressional bills could change that and give her a guarantee that she will never leave her children.

“If anyone in temporary protection has an amnesty or residence, I will be automatic,” she said. “I was always protected from deportation. That would have a big impact.”


Taxine from Orange County, California and Alemanni from El Salvador were reported.