The Obama administration has extended temporary protected status to El Salvadoran nationals through late 2013, shielding them from deportation and forcible return to their home country.El Salvador, which has a monetary standard of living about half that of Mexico, is heavily reliant on remittances from its natives living in the US, which constitute one-sixth's of the country's annual GDP. Fittingly enough, one-sixth of El Salvador's native population also currently lives in the US. Only Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica have larger shares of their populations living stateside:
The Department of Homeland Security cites ongoing disruptions from a series of earthquakes in 2001, concluding that "El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals."
The Obama administration's deportation policies have come under scrutiny, just as the president has geared up for his reelection campaign. Despite his support for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship, deportations have soared to new highs under the Obama administration— and the president's approval ratings among Latino voters have flatlined.
The protected status designation currently applies to 215,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. illegally and otherwise subject to deportation, and remittances from ex-patriate Salvadorans in the United States help keep that country's economy afloat.So, it's clear that this de facto amnesty is the right thing for El Salvador. Consequently, it's occurrence must come as no surprise.
What would come as a (pleasant) surprise? A campaign trail denunciation of it, particularly from Mitt Romney, who could use it to shore up support with blue collar whites who might have been taken aback (I guess--that's the media narrative, anyway) by his apology for the creative destruction that makes capitalism work and also to show that he's looking past the primaries and towards next November.