The group Canadian-Salvadorians in Winnipeg is concerned about the safety of Salvadorans living in the United States.

It comes following a decision by the Trump administration this week to end special protections for around 200,000 Salvadorans.

Oscar Calix, the group’s past president, said Salvadorans living in Manitoba are watching the situation closely.

“We are concerned for different reasons and one of them is the safety of our people,” said Calix. “We are concerned about the safety, the impact this will have in El Salvador.”

“We hope Canadians will understand the tragedy. We hope our country will show compassion and goodwill to our people.”

Salvadorans living with temporary protected status in the U.S. have until Sep., 2019 to leave the country or face deportation.

Winnipeg-based immigration lawyer Alastair Clarke said it’s reasonable to think some Salvadorans may look north when their temporary protection status in the U.S. ends.

“It’s reasonable to think many will come to Canada,” said Clarke. “We should expect a surge.”

The federal immigration minister said the department is monitoring the situation but downplayed concerns Tuesday in Ottawa that the move would result in an influx of asylum seekers coming to Canada.

“El Salvadorans have until September 2019 to either leave the United States or find a new way to obtain legal residency or regularize their status,” Ahmed Hussen told reporters in Ottawa. “It’s important to note until 2019 in September members of this community have the opportunity to regularize their status. They still have TPS (temporary protected status) until then.”

“This is a population we had already been engaging as part of our outreach efforts.”

Hussen said he travelled to Minnesota last month to talk with government officials about irregular migration from Minnesota to Manitoba.

“Even though the numbers there are very, very low we’re preparing officials there for any future influxes,” said Hussen. “I engaged directly with TPS-affected communities in Minnesota to explain to them our asylum system, to correct misinformation, to make sure that they are aware of not only about our asylum system but also about our regular immigration programs.”

“Coming to Canada’s not a free ticket. We have laws in place to discourage irregular migration, to tell them that it is an illegal act, that it is potentially dangerous and that having TPS in the United States does not automatically give you status in Canada.”