Donald Trump's decision to withdraw Temporary Protected Status from 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. constitutes a serious aggression against the rights of hundreds of thousands of people who were admitted in a state of extreme need, while opening the door to one of America's largest and most shameful mass deportations.

The temporary protected status was created in 1990 to grant extraordinary visas to citizens affected by war or natural disasters; that is, people whose lives were in real danger. The protected status has an individual character and is granted on a case-by-case basis. This was recognized at the time by the U.S. authorities who are now simply and plainly saying to refugees that Washington has changed its mind. That is not a way, of course, to win the respect of the international community where fulfilling commitments is the cornerstone of relations between countries − something that, apparently, Trump does not understand.

As has, unfortunately, been happening since Trump stormed the White House − for example, with the controversial immigration order − the decision has many consequences that threaten to extend the tragedy to the Americans themselves. There are thousands of U.S. citizens −a very large percentage of them minors − born to Salvadorans under the temporary protected status who might see their parents deported in September 2019. The same could happen with Americans married to Salvadorans, who risk the expulsion of their partners.

Trump has previously acted with the same unacceptable inhumanity against Haitians and Nicaraguans, but the magnitude of those affected in the case of El Salvador requires prompt rectification by the White House.