DAVID GREENE, HOST:
StoryCorps this Friday morning, we bring you a conversation between a mother and her 15-year-old daughter. Two decades ago, Maria Rivas immigrated from El Salvador to the United States, where she received temporary protected status allowing her to stay and work legally. But later this year, TPS is set to expire for nearly 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador, and that includes Rivas. If forced to leave the United States, she is not going to risk taking her U.S.-born daughter along with her. At StoryCorps, she sat down with her daughter Emily, a high school freshman, to talk about their uncertain future.
EMILY: What was it like for you to come here to the U.S.?
MARIA RIVAS: I didn't know besides good morning and what's your name when I came here. And when you were a baby, I used to read to you the Dr. Seuss books, like "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." And that's how I learned English, reading to you.
EMILY: You know, I never really put in much thought that you were an immigrant. I just thought, you know, you're my mom. And I never thought that you would have to leave. I was at school when my phone buzzed. And I just saw the notification that TPS was going to terminate. And I remember I started crying.
RIVAS: When you called me, I tried to calm you down. I am like, OK. This is happening. It's really happening. So I put myself together because I knew that I have to be strong for you. And I didn't promise something that I cannot keep. So I didn't promise you that everything will be OK. But I promise I'm going to make sure that you are OK.
EMILY: What are you most afraid of?
RIVAS: I'm terrified of missing you growing up. It's terrifying. I think that I'm more afraid of that than to go back to my country. Yeah.
EMILY: I'm scared that I'm going to have to do everything by myself.
RIVAS: You're not going to be alone. I promised you that. And I'm very hard to get rid of.
RIVAS: So I'm going to be on the phone all the time.
EMILY: What are your hopes for the future?
RIVAS: That I'm going to die of an - old age and be the pain on your neck all the time...
RIVAS: ...And make sure that you find strength even in a bad moment.
GREENE: Maria Rivas and her daughter Emily at StoryCorps. This interview will be archived along with hundreds of thousands of others at the Library of Congress. And we should say the fate of nearly 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants with temporary protected status will likely be decided by the end of the year.
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