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December 1994 Volume 1 Number 11
End of TPS for Salvadorans?
The Clinton Administration is considering allowing Temporary Protected Status to expire for the 187,000 El Salvadorans who left the country for the US during its 1980s civil war. The TPS status of the Salvadorans was established in IMMACT in 1990, and extended several times since then. It is scheduled to expire on December 31, 1994.<< back
The Salvadoran government and US activists are pressuring the Clinton Administration to extend TPS again. Experts believe that the passage of Prop. 187 may influence the Clinton Administration's decision on another extension.
There may be as many as 400,000 Salvadorans in the Los Angeles area, and 1 million Salvadorans in the US. Many would not be affected by the expiration of TPS. Salvadorans in the US remit $1 billion annually to El Salvador, the country's number one source of foreign exchange.
If TPS is not extended, some Salvadorans are expected to return voluntarily, while others are expected to apply for political asylum. There is a backlog of 500,000 political asylum cases, which means that Salvadorans requesting asylum would probably be given permission to work throughout the application process, which could take several years. Some Salvadorans may apply for permanent residence status if they have been in the US for seven years and their deportation would cause severe hardship to them or to a family member who is a permanent resident or an American citizen.
Robert Suro, "US to Alter Status of Salvadorans; Under Clinton Plan, Thousands of Refugees Face Uncertain Future," Washington Post, November 24, 1994. Patrick McDonnell, "Immigrants From El Salvador, Fear New Backlash," Los Angeles Times, November 15, 1994. Tracy Wilkinson, " Leaders Worry: After Prop. 187, the Deluge; Latin Presidents Fear A Massive Return of Citizens," Los Angeles Times, November 26, 1994. Steven Greenhouse, "Salvadorans May Lose Status as Refugees," New York Times, November 26, 1994.
Canada Reduces Immigration
Canada announced on November 1 that it will reduce legal immigration from 250,000 in 1994 to between 190,000 and 215,000 from 1995 to 2000. This reduction broke a promise made in the 1993 campaign to maintain immigration at one percent of the population, which would mean 290,000 immigrants annually. The impetus behind the immigration policy changes is an effort by the government to encourage immigrants "who (have) the skills and qualities to establish themselves quickly... While limiting the number of immigrants that are likely to depend upon government support."
Under the new plan, 55 percent of all immigrants will be admitted in economic categories, and 44 percent in family categories, and knowledge of English or French will play a greater role in immigrant selection. The stress on language skills reportedly reflects governmental concern over the costs of teaching the 44 percent of all immigrants who do not speak English or French.
Canada is also considering requiring persons who sponsor immigrants to post a bond or guarantee that the immigrants will not need public assistance after their arrival. About one in seven immigrants admitted under the family categories is on welfare, at an annual cost of C$ 700 million. Under the previous rules, immediate relatives of legal residents gained automatic entrance. The new regulations require that these relatives apply on their own to gain legal status in Canada--thereby reducing the number of immigrants admitted under the family classification.
Canada also suspended its investor-immigrant program" under which persons who invest at least C$ 250,000 in Canada for five years can become immigrants while reported abuses--investors withdrawing their money as soon as they receive immigrant status--are investigated.
Canada has recently increased immigration levels sharply, from 84,300 in 1985 to 245,800 in 1993. In a 1993 poll, 47 percent of the respondents thought that Canada was accepting too many immigrants, and one-third agreed with the statement that immigrants take "too many" jobs away from Canadians. The Reform Party has called for no more than 150,000 immigrants annually.
Members of Vancouver's Chinese community charge that the new immigration policy is unfair. Their concern is primarily with the new asylum/refugee guidelines--claimants are required to have applied for status and resided in Canada for a minimum of three years, plus present considerable documentation.
Currently, 4,000 Chinese have applied for refugee status in Canada-- as many as 2,800 may be sent home under the new policy. The chairman of the Mainland China Refugee Organization in Vancouver reports that of the 4,000, 92 percent have found jobs and less than five percent receive public assistance, contrary to the common public perception that Chinese refugees place a burden on Canada's social services.
The Canadian immigration policy changes were reported extensively in Asia. Hong Kong is the leading country of origin, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of all Canadian immigrants, followed by India and Taiwan.
"Canada to place Curbs on legal immigration," Washington Post, November 2, 1994; Philip Lee, "Canada to take in fewer migrants under new plan," The Straits Times (Singapore), November 3, 1994. Keith Damsell, " Chinese Charge Immigration Policy is Unfair," Financial Post, November 8, 1994.