Oscar Cortez feels he has a common American life. He carries a Costco card. He is the origin of the Boston Red Sox. And five days a week, she gets up before dawn, puts on four shirts and two pairs of pants and ventures into the icy air to work as a plumber, a good job that pays for her Maryland home and her daughters' college fund. . 19659003] The US government UU It opened the door to this life in 2001 when Cortez was granted and approximately 200,000 other migrants from El Salvador, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), an interim relief from deportation that allowed them to work legally in the United States. States for 17 years. On Monday, according to several people informed about the plans, the federal government will take it away.
National Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is expected to decide that the TPS will expire for Salvadorans in September 2019. Those informed about the decision said The Washington Post. Similar decisions last year that ended with the protection of Haitians and Nicaraguans.
Congress created the temporary status program in 1990 to offer temporary humanitarian assistance to immigrants whose homelands were involved in wars, natural disasters or other extraordinary conditions.
Salvadorans are the largest group with the state and the impact of taking would be broad: from Washington to Los Angeles and in the Central American nation itself. People will have 18 months to leave or seek other means to obtain legal residency, said connoisseurs of the decision.
The Trump administration and other critics say that TPS has become a de facto immigration option for hundreds of thousands of undocumented residents, which does not reflect conditions in a particular country, but rather a US government that for years has not He has been able to decide what to do about illegal immigrants. Salvadorans were allowed to apply for protection status after two powerful earthquakes devastated the country in 2001. Since then, officials have renewed the status of Salvadorans.
The Trump administration, which also took action against other forms of temporary deportation for immigrants – says the decision to extend the TPS must be made on the basis of whether the initial justifications for the state still exist. The United States, say the officers, sends tens of thousands of deportees to El Salvador every year.
But the immigrants say that former presidents of both political parties have acknowledged that El Salvador is not prepared for a massive influx of US residents for a long time. The country is beset by the lack of housing and jobs, and some of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Although many TPS beneficiaries initially arrived in the United States illegally, they have since been examined, registered and incorporated into US society. Most thought that their next step was a path to US citizenship, not deportation.
"I think it's my country," said Cortez, who came to the United States when he was 28 and is a 46-year-old silvery-haired man an official plumber at Shapiro & Duncan, a mechanical contractor in Rockville who works on projects of construction in schools, office buildings, hospitals and other places.
"Behind us there are children, wives, nephews, nieces, mothers and fathers who depend on us," Cortez added. "It does not affect a person, it affects a lot of people."
Salvadoran President Salvador Sánchez Cerén said he appealed to Nielsen during a long phone call to extend the TPS, in part so that Congress has more time to try to pass a law that allows immigrants with that status to remain permanently. Salvadorans, including TPS holders, sent a record $ 4.5 billion to help family members in El Salvador in 2016.
Nielsen was "grateful" for the president's call, said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Houlton last week.
The largest number of Salvadoran TPS recipients-about 32,000 people-live in the Washington area, the studies show, followed by Los Angeles, New York and Houston. Almost a third house of its own. They work in a wide range of jobs, from defense contractors to school cafeteria workers, commercial office cleaners and restaurant owners.
Mark Drury, vice president of business development at Shapiro & Duncan, said the end of TPS would worsen the lack of trained traders that are causing his company to turn down its jobs.
"We can not hire the people we need even to fulfill our strategic growth plans because it leads people to do the work," Drury said.  Many Salvadorans say that if they lose their protected status, they will try to remain illegally in the United States, a fate they say they fear but that is more bearable than facing unrestrained violence in their homeland.
Cortez, father of two children, said he arrived in the United States in 2000, after he dropped out of college in El Salvador because he could not afford tuition and was cut from a job in a textile factory. At the beginning, undocumented, he worked sporadic jobs of low salary, placing carpets or cutting grass.
With TPS, he was able to work legally with a fixed salary, health benefits and a 401 (k). Shapiro and Duncan sent him to school to become a plumber. He has worked there for 15 years and owns a house in Aspen Hill.
His co-worker Jaime Contreras, welder of the project that Metrorail will extend to Dulles International Airport, said his work has transformed the lives of his family, both in Maryland and El Salvador. As a child in El Salvador, Contreras went to school in the mornings and worked in the afternoons, painting houses at age 7 and welding at 11.
At age 20, he moved to the United States in search of higher wages. Now he is 37 years old and owns a modest yellow brick house in Beltsville, where he lives with his wife and three children born in the United States. Send $ 300 a month to your mother in El Salvador to pay for treatments for your damaged kidneys.
"My children, my wife and my mother depend on all this, and so do I," he said.
Cortez said he visited his parents in 2016 for the first time since he left and was surprised to see the house with six locks on each door to protect himself from the thieves. He did not recognize anyone. The people left or died. Strangers looked at him in the street.
"I felt like a foreigner in my own land," he said. "Everyone looks at you as if you were from outer space."
Now, the two men said, they are accumulating their savings in case they lose their jobs along with their protective status. Cortez said he would like to replace his old Mitsubishi Montero, with 150,000 miles and a sizzling engine, but he will not risk losing the money.
"It's ugly," said Contreras. "Without legal documents, we will lose practically everything."
"We will lose our jobs," he said. "We will lose everything."
Nick Miroff contributed to this report.