US President Donald Trump photo: AFP

Some 200,000 Salvadoran nationals living in the U.S. for at least 17 years face deportation after their special residency status was revoked on Monday.

The U.S. Government, on Monday, said it was cancelling Salvadorans’ temporary protection status that allowed them to live in the U.S. after devastating earthquakes in 2001 in their native country.

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Their protected status was renewed several times in following years.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Kirtjen Nielsen, said in a statement on Monday that she had concluded that conditions in El Salvador had improved “so, the ongoing protection status is no longer justified.”

The Salvadoran nationals have until September 2019 to leave the U.S. or find other legal means of remaining in the country.

In the statement, the department cited the repatriation of more than 39,000 people to El Salvador in the last two years as proof that the country’s “temporary inability” to bring back citizens no longer applies.