An estimated 200,000 Salvadorans live in the United States with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. Now, all 200,000 of them have been ordered to leave.
For Colorado businesses big and small, this decision could be detrimental.
What is TPS?
TPS is a temporary benefit for people in the country who cannot go back to their homeland because of political turmoil or an environmental disaster.
Individuals granted TPS can work in the states legally, could not be deported and may travel outside of the U.S.
It is not a path to citizenship, but TPS does not prevent an individual from filing for adjustment of status.
The Center for Migration Studies says that Salvadorans on TPS have given birth to 192,000 children, all U.S. citizens. The family can petition for permanent status when those kids turn 21.
TPS For El Salvador
Salvadorans were first granted TPS in 2001 following a pair of devastating earthquakes that killed nearly 1,000 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes in the Central American country.
President George W. Bush and Barack Obama continued extending the protections every 18 months, arguing that the country had not fully recovered.
Trump's administration is canceling the program. Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen concluded that conditions in El Salvador have improved enough for their nationals to return home.
The Salvadoran Embassy in Washington estimates that 97 percent of Salvadorans on TPS over the age of 24 are employed and paying taxes. More than half of them also own homes.
In Colorado, businesses big and small are bracing for the impact.
El Chalate on Colfax was started by Marta Leon 10 years ago. She had TPS at the time and says her dream of a restaurant wouldn't have been possible without that temporary permit.
Now, she's a permanent resident and says about 90 percent of her customers have TPS. She's afraid the decision to remove these benefits for her clients will be detrimental to her little business.
Mi Pueblo Market is a much bigger business facing similar obstacles.
The company has been around for almost 20 years. The owner is from El Salvador and has five stores all across Colorado.
They have 400 employees and supervisor Sandy Marroquin says about 40 percent of them have TPS.
"It's going to be a big impact," Marroquin said in Spanish. She reports having several employees who have been with them almost from the start.
Replacing them during a time when everyone is hiring, she says, is going to be the hardest part.
The Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, Mi Familia Vota and the Asian Pacific Development Center are partnering up to host a community forum. It will be on Jan. 27 from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 5209 Montview Blvd, Denver, CO. The community forum is meant to provide more information about the decision and what's next.