A Tucson man says death awaits him if he returns to El Salvador when he's no longer eligible to stay in the United States under Temporary Protected Status.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced plans to end the program for roughly 200,000 Salvadorans in September 2019.
Federal officials said the conditions that caused Salvadorans to be granted the designation no longer exist.
The Center for American Progress has estimated there are about 1,000 Salvadorans living and working in Arizona with Temporary Protected Status.
Tucson resident Gabriel Navarrete has been in the program since 2001. If he goes back to El Salvador, Navarrete said gangs like MS-13 will see him as a target.
“The future that awaits us is death,” Navarrete said in Spanish. “Because we won’t pay the mafia and they will kill us.”
Navarrete also said he now stands to lose his cleaning business and houses. Ending Temporary Protected Status puts people in situation where they don’t know what to do, he said.