In 2001, Maria and Jose Rivas, who are from El Salvador, were living in the United States when two major earthquakes hit their native country. They were granted Temporary Protected Status or TPS, which allowed them to live and work in the US legally.

Since then, Maria and her husband made a life for themselves here; they worked and had two children, Ethan and Emily, who are US citizens.

In 2018, the Trump administration announced the end of TPS for Salvadorans; meaning Maria and Jose would be ordered to leave the country. 

On the brink of separation, Maria sat down for StoryCorps with her daughter Emily—who was a high school freshman at the time—to talk about the uncertainty of their future.

Faced with the threat of deportation, Maria and her husband made a plan for their children. They decided that if they were forced to leave the country, Ethan and Emily would stay in the US and live with their family friend, Lynette Craig, who Maria became close with while working as a nanny for Lynette’s children.

Maria recorded a second StoryCorps interview, this time with Lynette, to talk about their friendship and how they are preparing for whatever happens in the years to come.

Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound.
Bottom Photo: Maria Rivas and her daughter Emily at their StoryCorps interview in December 2018. By Mia Warren for StoryCorps.

Released on January 7, 2020

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Heat and Memory” by Jarrett Floyd
“NirvanaVEVO” by Chris Zabriskie from the album Undercover Vampire Policeman
“Periodicals” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Albany, NY
“Watermarks” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Crab Shack