Consular officials in Los Angeles are urging Salvadorans to renew their immigration papers by a Dec. 30 deadline to avoid risking deportation.
About 229,000 Salvadorans are eligible for temporary protected status, but only about 39%, or 90,340, have submitted applications, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
El Salvador's consul general in Los Angeles, Hector Hugo Herrera, said Tuesday he believed many haven't completed the paperwork because they cannot afford the $80 fee for the fingerprints and the $340 fee for the work permit.
"They are leaving it to the last moment because they don't have sufficient money," he said, adding that many have lost jobs or hours because of the declining economy.