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Temporary Protected Status extension benefits Salvadorans in Las Vegas

Posted at 7:35 PM, Mar 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 00:40:55-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Ten more months of protection was granted to immigrants with Temporary Protected Status.

The program allows people from countries at war or affected by natural disasters to live and work in the United States for a limited time.

The Department of Homeland Security acted as a lawsuit winds through the courts to stop the Trump Administration from ending the program for most recipients.

What happens in January 2020 depends on the outcome of the lawsuit.

The extension of the program benefits nearly 6,300 Salvadorans that live in Nevada.

On average, they have lived in the state for 24 years.

Ovidio Duran is a handyman who lives on the east side of the valley.

He can fix it all, but one thing he cannot fix is his legal status.

"It’s sad because going back to my country with all the violence going on; it's hard. I'd lose everything from one day to the next," Duran said.

He arrived in Las Vegas in 2001 after a daring escape from gangs in El Salvador.

"They kidnapped me when I was at work. That frightened me, and I was so scared," Duran said.

He requested political asylum and was granted TPS.

"I'm grateful because I can work without any problems," Duran said.

But his future became uncertain when the Trump Administration canceled the program last year.

"I don't want to go back my wife, and I are used to living here, and we're happy," Duran said.

Duran and other future is in limbo because Homeland security only extended the program less than a year.

But, not everyone supports giving TPS to anyone.

"You want to be in the US become a US citizen," said Lupe Media.

"You got to live by our laws, and if you don't want to do that, hey, go back where ever you came from," said Felix, Medina’s husband.

Republican analyst, Jesus Marquez said the government previously allowed TPS recipients to renew their status every 18 months.

"All of these people made roots in the country, so you can't just expel them now or just deport them," said Duran.

Marquez believes the one-year extension would allow some Republicans to push for a permanent solution.

"If we were to support border security I think we will have a better chance of achieving an agreement on people that are already here," said Marquez.

The Temporary Protected Status benefits other countries including Haiti and Sudan.

Those under the program can apply for permanent residency, but applications are approved on a case by case basis.