Federal Government Extends Protection for Salvadorans

Nationals and immigrants from El Salvador can now stay in the United States for longer periods of time, due to a refugee status that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended to the country

Yesterday, Aug. 21, the DHS announced that it was extending Temporary Protected Status for Salvadoran citizens, an immigration measure that is granted to countries suffering the effects of war or an environmental disaster. In a statement, DHS noted that the protection status was being extended due to destruction cause by an earthquake in 2001. The decision was made by the secretary of the federal agency.

According to U.S. Census records from 2000, Colorado was home to approximately 3,400 individuals identifying as Salvadoran, the largest Central American demographic.

DHS application criteria appears to only apply to nationals with documentation of having resided in the United States since the earthquake, although certain waivers can be given depending on the situation.

The protected status has been extended until March of 2009, and nationals are required to re-apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the temporary extension.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at erosa@www.coloradoindependent.com.