A blank foster parent application sits on Andrea’s kitchen table, waiting to be filled out. When she and her husband—both youth pastors at a small-town evangelical church—printed the form, she looked forward to fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a foster family: a safe, stable place for children whose lives had been turned upside down. Children unlike herself.

Growing up, her childhood as a Salvadoran immigrant to the United States was tranquil. Andrea, who requested that her last name not be used, did have vague knowledge of the rolling deadline that came up every 18 months, with its accompanying stress over paying the $2,000 fee to maintain her family’s temporary protected status (TPS) with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). But every family had financial concerns, so she felt theirs was nothing abnormally burdensome.

“We just lived a normal life,” Andrea said. “We’re as rooted as anybody.”

The TPS program currently allows 417,000 immigrants who fled extraordinary circumstances to live in the US with permission to work. Many have become deeply enmeshed in their communities, impossible to extricate without sending ripples of instability through families, churches, and businesses.

The Trump administration’s decision to terminate TPS for some countries has shaken America’s immigrants. Many will face the decision to remain illegally in what they consider to be their home or to return to a place that would be unsafe for their families. The terminations also cast a shadow of uncertainty over efforts to extend TPS to immigrants from Venezuela. The political situation there has grown dramatically unstable as opposition leader Juan Guaidó, backed ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.