Iowa Family From El Salvador Fears Deportation

PERRY, Iowa  --  People from El Salvador who have been living in the U.S. since 2001 on a temporary protected status must now establish permanent residency or leave the country.

Yandi Barco lives in Perry, and her family owns a Salvadoran restaurant called El Buen Gusto.

“Hopefully we don’t leave our restaurant. We've been here for almost 10 years and my parents really want to stay here," Barco said.

For some Salvadorans, leaving home could soon become a reality because of President Trump's reversal of a temporary immigration policy.

"I really disagree on the decision he just made," said Barco.

After a pair of devastating earthquakes rocked El Salvador in 2001, more than 200,000 Salvadorans were granted temporary protected status, allowing them to live and work in the United States. That status is now suspended, so people have until September of 2019 to either leave the country, establish permanent residency, or be deported.

Barco says this change will uproot families and push out hardworking people.

“There are some people that are just here working and trying to support all their family, they have kids, some have businesses," Barco said.

Some conservatives say the temporary status--which was signed into law back in the 1990s--was created to protect people fleeing a natural disaster; now that El Salvador has rebuilt, it’s time to return home.

Barco says despite rebuilding, though, the country is too unsafe.

“It makes me feel sad because a lot of people don’t really want to go back to their country and especially to El Salvador because it’s dangerous," she said. "They came here for a better life, and knowing he is going to send them back is sad because it is a dangerous place."

Since President Trump took office, El Salvador is among four other countries suspended from TPS.  The president says it’s a push to limit the number of foreigners in America.

The Department of Homeland Security says there is time for Congress to draft a legislative solution.