Trump clamps down on El Salvador's 'lifeline'

Millions of people in El Salvador depend on money sent home by their loved ones in the United States. They use it to ...

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 10:09 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 10:09 AM

Millions of people in El Salvador depend on money sent home by their loved ones in the United States. They use it to buy homes, groceries, school supplies and other essentials of everyday life.

The Trump administration's decision Monday to end protections for about 250,000 Salvadorans in the United States puts those payments, known as remittances, at risk, experts say.

"They are the lifeline of those families," said Cecilia Menj-var, co-director at the Center for Migration Research at the University of Kansas, and a native of El Salvador. "If remittances decline, the country will collapse."

People protected by the program, known as Temporary Protected Status, will have until September 2019 to leave the country or find other means of staying, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Related: Remittances to Mexico on track to hit all-time high

Salvadorans in the United States sent home a record amount of money in 2016, and the totals from 2017 are on pace to break the record.

From January through November, Salvadorans sent home $4.51 billion in remittances, according to the country's central bank. For all of 2016, Salvadorans mailed $4.57 billion to family and loved ones.

That's a huge sum for a relatively poor country of 6 million people. The entire economic output of El Salvador last year was $27 billion, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund. Mexico has about 20 times as many people and took in only about six times as much in remittances through November.

The amount of money sent home to loved ones also dwarfs the $88 million that El Salvador received in aid from the United States last year.

Related: I send money home to Mexico to support my family

It's uncertain what will happen to remittances in coming months.

Experts say Salvadorans in the United States could decide to send as much money home as possible before the protections end in 2019. They also caution that American employers may fire Salvadoran employees who will lose their ability to keep a job.

In the long term, though, if hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans are forced to return to their native country, remittances will fall significantly, they say.

Families use the money to keep kids in school longer, according to Christine Wade, a professor at Washington College in Maryland who has published research on El Salvador.

School fees are one of the many expenses families cover with remittances. Wade argues that a decline in remittances would almost certainly mean less class time for children.

"This policy shift has all sorts of unintended consequences that people just aren't thinking about," Wade said. "This decision is likely to only increase migration because it's only going to make things worse for the Salvadoran economy."

--CNN's Catherine Shoichet contributed reporting to this article.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60101

Reported Deaths: 1689
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19057831
Ramsey7444265
Dakota4334104
Anoka3618114
Stearns288620
Washington207744
Nobles17626
Olmsted171823
Scott153218
Mower10992
Rice10298
Blue Earth9115
Wright8695
Carver8413
Clay77940
Sherburne7188
Kandiyohi6891
St. Louis52119
Lyon4263
Todd4242
Freeborn3591
Steele3451
Nicollet33313
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona25916
Crow Wing23214
Beltrami2230
Le Sueur2171
Martin2075
Chisago1991
Otter Tail1933
Goodhue1929
Cottonwood1770
McLeod1730
Pipestone1559
Becker1521
Polk1504
Waseca1480
Douglas1391
Itasca13812
Unassigned13741
Carlton1350
Pine1290
Dodge1260
Isanti1230
Murray1221
Chippewa1031
Wabasha910
Morrison891
Brown882
Faribault870
Meeker852
Rock830
Sibley832
Jackson810
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Mille Lacs713
Cass692
Fillmore640
Renville635
Lincoln570
Grant533
Swift521
Yellow Medicine520
Roseau470
Pope460
Aitkin401
Houston390
Norman390
Redwood360
Kanabec341
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall300
Mahnomen261
Wadena260
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle70
Cook30
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48398

Reported Deaths: 925
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10223207
Woodbury371652
Black Hawk311566
Linn234887
Johnson206719
Dallas187835
Buena Vista179112
Scott171614
Dubuque166531
Marshall143826
Pottawattamie131426
Story116014
Wapello88133
Muscatine84648
Webster8017
Crawford7273
Sioux6253
Cerro Gordo60917
Warren5571
Tama54929
Jasper47626
Wright4651
Plymouth4579
Dickinson3804
Clinton3793
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2553
Hamilton2461
Franklin23910
Bremer2247
Clarke1993
Emmet1914
Carroll1881
Clay1861
Shelby1831
Hardin1780
Des Moines1692
Marion1690
Poweshiek1578
Benton1551
Allamakee1544
Floyd1532
Jackson1511
Mahaska13917
Cedar1311
Guthrie1315
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Henry1203
Madison1182
Pocahontas1152
Lee1133
Lyon1132
Delaware1111
Cherokee1081
Humboldt1081
Harrison1060
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek951
Page940
Monona910
Kossuth890
Mills890
Palo Alto840
Sac840
Calhoun832
Jefferson830
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Winnebago790
Mitchell780
Union771
Monroe727
Cass711
Worth660
Lucas634
Montgomery594
Davis551
Chickasaw540
Howard490
Appanoose483
Fremont420
Greene410
Keokuk341
Van Buren341
Adair290
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 65°
Mason City
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Albert Lea
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Charles City
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Scattered Storms, Warm & Humid
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Rochester Area Restore celebrates 6 years

Image

Saturday Weather

Image

Grief mask making workshop

Image

Mace's Weather 8/8

Image

Tractor pullers excited to rev up their engines in 2020

Image

Need school supplies? Iowa tax-free weekend on clothes

Image

War hero remembered with motorcycle ride

Image

Families react to RPS's "Return to Learn" plan

Image

Sara's 10pm Forecast- Friday

Image

Giving your best volunteer of the month

Community Events