Editor, Townsman:

El Salvador began its plunge into violent civil war one afternoon in 1979 when the rector of the National University and his chauffeur were brutally assassinated, I was one block away.

Since then, a 12-year armed conflict, two massive earthquakes in 1986 and 2001, and a growing plague of gang violence have forced the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans to seek asylum here in the United States. Many of them are beneficiaries of a program called temporary protected status (TPS) which as of 2020 has allowed 411,000 immigrants, more than half from El Salvador, to reside here while their home countries are in crisis.

Even though 90% of these immigrants have jobs and file income taxes, President Donald Trump's administration ordered the departure of 98% of TPS recipients and terminated TPS for El Salvador, stating that the original conditions from 2001 (the earthquake that destroyed nearly 278,000 homes and displaced more than a million people) that prompted this designation no longer exist.

This assertion was in total disregard of evidence pointing to the uncontrollable extreme violence and devastating extortion by transnational gangs such as MS-13, which terrorize and destabilize most of the country.

In the absence of any clear judicial processes to assess TPS status for Salvadorans, President Joe Biden's administration has designated TPS for Myanmar and Venezuela.

Certainly El Salvador should be given the same designation. Moral imperatives ought to impact the foreign relations of a humane country.

Let us not turn our back on El Salvador.

William Kolbe

Andover

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