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Vox Sentences: Trump’s next target — 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants

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The Trump administration ends Temporary Protected Status for more than 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants; Robert Mueller seeks an interview with Trump as part of the Russia investigation.

More than 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants will soon be vulnerable to deportation

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration revoked the temporary legal status of more than 260,000 Salvadoran immigrants today, leaving the formerly protected community vulnerable to deportation. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • Temporary Protected Status is a designation the US government gives to immigrants whose home countries are undergoing a war or natural disaster. Salvadorans became eligible after a 2001 earthquake, meaning the people protected have been in the US at least 16 years. The Trump administration also recently did away with the same protected status for Haitians, which they were granted after the 2010 earthquake. [NYT / Miriam Jordan]
  • The Salvadoran community is the largest group in the United States that had this protected status; government officials in their home country of El Salvador say things are not stable enough for so many people to return at once. The country’s economy is struggling, and homicide rates are high. [Guardian / Amanda Holpuch]
  • The decision will have wide-ranging consequences. Many Salvadorans have been living in the US for nearly 20 years and have made lives here, owning businesses and homes. Potential deportation will impact the local economies in the areas where they live — some serve as the primary breadwinners for their families back home in Central America. [Washington Post / Maria Sacchetti]
  • Immigration activists have been calling loudly for the federal government to give TPS holders permanent status and a path to citizenship, but that’s unlikely under the Trump administration. [NBC News / Julia Ainsley]
  • The administration has been clear it wants to end humanitarian immigration programs, breaking with precedent of past presidents from both parties who continued protected status for groups. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • The Salvadorans won’t see immediate changes; Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen said she’ll extend the end date by 18 months to give people time to transition. [NPR / Bill Chappell]

Mueller seeks a high-stakes interview with the president

  • New reports in the Washington Post and NBC News indicate that special counsel Robert Mueller will seek an interview with President Trump as part of his ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. [NBC News / Kristen Welker, Carol Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Hallie Jackson]
  • Trump’s lawyers have been talking with Mueller’s team to set the parameters of the interview, such as whether Trump could answer some questions with written answers. An interview could potentially happen in the next several weeks. [Washington Post / Carol Leonnig]
  • But legal experts whom Vox’s Alex Ward spoke to said it’s unlikely Mueller will accept written responses and will instead want a sit-down interview. And if Trump lies under oath during the questioning, he would be committing a felony. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • This is undoubtedly a key point in Mueller’s investigation, which has increasingly been the target of attacks from congressional Republicans. In recent weeks, many Republicans have gone on the offense on Trump’s behalf, painting Mueller’s investigation as a witch hunt after one FBI agent on the team was found to have sent text messages critical of the president. [CNN / Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb]


  • While we on the East Coast of the United States have been freezing our faces off this past week, it’s scorching hot in Australia. So hot it caused a section of an asphalt freeway to melt. [Washington Post / Kristine Phillips]
  • In more weird Australia news: Do not — I repeat — do not mess with the country’s “Firehawk” raptors. They will kill you with fire. [Inverse Science / Rae Paoletta]
  • Americans struggling to pay for exorbitant health costs in the US are increasingly going to India, where care is much cheaper. But that’s also making it difficult for India’s poor to get care. [Foreign Policy / Daniel Block]
  • Crumbs are the bane of any gravity-ridden astronaut’s existence ... hence, food you can literally squeeze out of a tube. Hamburger paste, anyone? [Atlas Obscura / Paula Mejia]


“So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.” [Oprah, in her Golden Globes speech / CNN]

Watch this: How this military explosive is poisoning American soil

In our latest ProPublica collaboration, we report on RDX, one of the world’s most powerful conventional explosives, developed by the US military. But it’s now believed by many to cause cancer, and it is increasingly turning up in drinking water supplies near military sites across the country. [YouTube / Ranjani Chakraborty and Abrahm Lustgarten]

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Correction: A previous version of this article misdescribed Temporary Protected Status. It’s offered to immigrants already in the United States after a war or natural disaster in their home country, not to those fleeing disaster or conflict.

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