Yes, mass deportation is on the table. It always was.
They number upwards of 250,000.
They've lived legally in the United States for nearly two decades.
And now, they have less than two years to leave, find another legal way to stay or face deportation.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Monday it is ending "temporary protected status" for Salvadorans.
Here's a look at some of the key events and issues at play:
It started with an earthquake.
The 7.7-magnitude quake that struck El Salvador in January 2001 was the worst to hit the country in a decade. Then, two powerful quakes shook the country the following month.
Neighborhoods were buried. Homes collapsed. More than 1,100 people were killed. Another 1.3 million were displaced.
The devastation spurred a decision that March by then-US Attorney General John Ashcroft: Immigrants from El Salvador who'd been in the United States since February 2001 could apply for temporary protected status, or TPS, which would protect them from deportation and allow them to get work permits. It was an 18-month designation.
Now, it's been nearly 17 years. Time after time, officials from different administrations have determined conditions in El Salvador hadn't improved enough for migrants with TPS to return. On Monday, the Trump administration said it decided to end protections effective September 9, 2019.
Estimates differ for exactly how many immigrants the decision will affect. There were 263,282 Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries at the end of 2016, according to the latest statistics provided to CNN by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Activists and experts have put the number of Salvadorans who could lose protections closer to 200,000, noting that official statistics likely include people who are no longer in the program because their immigration status has changed or they have left the United States.
Immigrant rights advocates say it is unfair and cruel to end TPS for Salvadorans who've built lives, paid taxes, contributed to the economy and raised families for nearly two decades in the United States. They also argue that violence and widespread poverty make it unsafe for migrants to return to El Salvador.
Five months before, Mr. Trump had dispatched federal officers to the nation’s airports to stop travelers from several Muslim countries from entering the United States in a dramatic demonstration of how he would deliver on his campaign promise to fortify the nation’s borders.
But so many foreigners had flooded into the country since January, he vented to his national security team, that it was making a mockery of his pledge. Friends were calling to say he looked like a fool, Mr. Trump said.
According to six officials who attended or were briefed about the meeting, Mr. Trump then began reading aloud from the document, which his domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller, had given him just before the meeting. The document listed how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017.
More than 2,500 were from Afghanistan, a terrorist haven, the president complained.
Haiti had sent 15,000 people. They “all have AIDS,” he grumbled, according to one person who attended the meeting and another person who was briefed about it by a different person who was there.
Forty thousand had come from Nigeria, Mr. Trump added. Once they had seen the United States, they would never “go back to their huts” in Africa, recalled the two officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss a sensitive conversation in the Oval Office.