Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans will be forced to leave the US.
The US Department of Homeland Security confirmed that it is ending special protections for the immigrants.
Salvadorans will have until September 9 2019 to leave the United States or adjust their legal status.
Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Monday that damage inflicted by a 2001 earthquake in the Central American country didn’t justify another temporary extension.
She explained that El Salvador has received significant international aid and that much of the country’s infrastructure is rebuilt.
Nielsen added the 18-month delay gives Congress time to address the issue.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia, told CNN: ‘They have resettled, established their families and lives here in the United States. Most of them see themselves much more as American citizens than Salvadoran citizens and to end that protection and program is going to disrupt many communities across the United States. It’s inhumane and not consistent with American values.’
But Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart argued these people had no choice but to leave their country after the devastating earthquake.
He said in a statement: ‘These innocent people fled their home country after a disastrous earthquake, and while living conditions may have slightly improved, El Salvador now faces a significant problem with drug trafficking, gangs and crime.
‘Since 2001, these people have established themselves in the United States, making countless contributions to our society and our local communities. It would be devastating to send them home after they have created a humble living for themselves and their families.’