The Trump administration announced on Monday the end of a temporary protection status that allowed El Salvadoran refugees to travel to the United States and avoid deportation, according to The New York Times.
"The administration is giving Salvadorans in the program until September 2019 to get their affairs in order. After that, they no longer will have permission to stay in the country, forcing them into a wrenching decision," according to The New York Times.
About 200,000 people from El Salvador will be asked to leave the country, the New York Times reported.
Salvadorans had been allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. since a pair of earthquakes rattled the country in 2001.
According to the Times, Salvadorans made up the largest group of foreigners who benefited from the protections in the country.
Salvadorans openly questioned how the new administration would handle their status, given that President Donald Trump ran his 2016 presidential bid preaching anti-immigration.
According to the Deseret News, Salvadoran parents often have to make the wrenching decision of sending their children to the U.S. to escape the crime and poverty in their own country.
"These children are not criminals coming to sell drugs or laborers coming to steal jobs, as they are often described in the heated rhetoric that frames immigration reform," the Deseret News reported. "Their plight is far more akin to that of refugees who are seeking asylum from war-ravaged places across the globe."
The Deseret News spoke to families who are worried about possible deportation, including mother Carmen de Jesus, who faced an impossible choice.
De Jesus knew she wanted to send her daughter to the U.S. She felt guilt and fear over the issue, especially since there were kidnappers and drug smugglers on the journey. She also knew that some young women are sexually assaulted during their trips to the U.S., the Deseret News reported.
"And she knew other parents whose children had met all these fates," according to the Deseret News. "But she was sending her daughter, nonetheless. Because she also knew if the girl didn't go, she was going to die."