Rolling Stone: “Hope and Fear: How the Fortunes of Five L.A. Immigrants Have Changed Since Trump Took Office”
In this Rolling Stone piece, Ben Ehrenreich writes about five Los Angeles immigrants and their lives’ trajectories, including the life of Diego Ortiz, a former Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holder from El Salvador who is now a U.S. citizen. Ehrenreich recounts experiences that have shaped Ortiz’s life, including his family’s many requests for asylum and Trump’s country-specific terminations of TPS programs over the last several months.
Now naturalized citizens, Ortiz and his family consider themselves fortunate, as the Trump Administration has continued to terminate TPS for Haitian, Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, and Sudanese immigrants, jeopardizing the lives and futures of these TPS holders and their families. Too many others have not been so lucky.
Relevant excerpts follow:
Ortiz had arrived in the U.S. in 1989, shortly before his third birthday. An aunt carried him over the border; his mother and brother had fled El Salvador’s civil war two years earlier. In 1990, Congress granted Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, to Salvadorans like the Ortizes, allowing them to live and work here legally while it was unsafe to go home. He remembered waiting for hours with his mother in cold federal offices as she re-registered for TPS each year. After decades of anxiety, many missteps and thousands of dollars lost to fraudulent lawyers, Ortiz and his parents were granted permanent residency. Their trajectory is the sort that we talk about when we speak of the American Dream: His father found work as a landscaper and his mother cleaned houses, but Ortiz finished college and now works for an environmental advocacy group in the San Fernando Valley.
“I wish people understood that it’s out of necessity that people come here. It’s not because they want to,” Ortiz said.
The door that had opened for Ortiz and his family, that had allowed his parents to escape with their lives and raise their children without fear, was about to swing closed behind them: In January, Trump ended TPS for nearly 200,000 Salvadorans. And the administration continues its encroachment on immigrant protections: Earlier this month, in an escalation of the Justice Department’s attack on sanctuary laws, Jeff Sessions filed a lawsuit against the state of California, to force state and local officials to cooperate with ICE… Wall or no wall, America is getting smaller, and the machine is getting uglier.