- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ecuadorean immigrants are asking the Obama administration to allow their fellow citizens in the United States illegally to stay here and work while the South American country recovers from a magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

A group of Ecuadorean activists in Los Angeles on Wednesday joined similar calls by Democratic lawmakers after an April 16 quake killed more than 650 people and left thousands homeless.

The U.S. periodically grants so-called temporary protected status to countries ravaged by war or natural disasters, such as Nepal following a 2015 earthquake. More than 300,000 people from more than a dozen countries are covered by such programs.

Critics say the status isn’t really temporary since it can be continually renewed, noting Salvadorans granted the benefit in 2001 still have it.

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