Even though the Liberal government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to portray him as the righteous voice of Northern America, Canadian diplomats are putting in a great effort to stave off the 200,000 Salvadoran refugees in limbo from Trump’s latest decision crossing the US-Canadian border and enter the land of the maple leaf.
Roughly 200,000 Salvadorans living in the United States were granted protected status in 2001 following a major earthquake in El Salvador that killed hundreds and destroyed a great part of their infrastructure, making a return at the time difficult.
However, as in accordance with Mr Trump’s White House policies already outlined during his presidential campaign last year, those ‘protected status’ immigrants should not count on an extension from this administration, and thus the Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced that their ‘protection’ would end in September 2019.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained that a decision is better than the insecurity they now have: “Getting them to a permanent solution is a much better plan than having them live six months to 12 months to 18 months.”
The announcement represents a challenging economic measure for El Salvador, a country of 6.2 million people whose wealth depends in a large part on the wages that earners in the U.S. sent home.
Over the past ten years under the two Democratic administrations of Barack Obama, growing numbers of Salvadorans entered the United States illegally through Mexico, in their words fleeing violence and poverty.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So El Salvador is a “gang violence-ravaged and impoverished disaster zone” <a href="https://twitter.com/sallykohn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sallykohn</a>? What’s another name for that? 🤔 <a href="https://t.co/6abxgEJwJf">https://t.co/6abxgEJwJf</a></p>— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) <a href="https://twitter.com/PoliticalShort/status/951996050654445568?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
For this reason, and in anticipation of an influx, Canada sent several Spanish-speaking lawmakers to California, to communicate with and even dissuade potential migrants from illegally crossing the border.
This is nothing new for Canada. Earlier last year, the Canadian immigration minister himself went to Minneapolis, home to the largest Somali immigrant population.