The United States extended the status to about 250,000 Salvadorans in 2001 after a massive earthquake. Marie Sebrechts, a spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said she couldn’t comment on the status of Saca’s latest request because she had not seen it. It’s unclear how many Salvadorans live in the United States, legally or otherwise. The U.S. Census of 2000 estimates 600,000, but Salvadoran officials say the real number is much higher. Large pockets live throughout California. Many work as farm laborers or in other low-paying jobs. Saca said he didn’t have a timetable for pulling about Salvadoran 400 troops out of Iraq, saying first the armed forces in the Middle Eastern country had to be capable of providing security. “After all the hard work there, it doesn’t make sense to get up and leave,” Saca said. Most Latin American governments opposed the war. Only Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic sent troops or police to Iraq. Salvadorans are the only ones still there. Saca said he would attend a fundraiser in Los Angeles tonight for a children’s hospital and then return to El Salvador.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Salvadoran President Tony Saca urged Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday to support national immigration reform, saying resolving the status of undocumented workers would benefit the United States. “Many of the people being deported are good, taxpaying people who are contributing to this country,” Saca told reporters after meeting with Villaraigosa for an hour at a downtown hotel. “Twelve million or 14 million illegals (in the United States), that’s the reality here.” Saca said the mayor “made it clear he understood the concerns,” but didn’t elaborate. Villaraigosa, a Democrat and Los Angeles’ first Latino mayor in more than 130 years, did not speak with reporters. Calls to his office seeking comment late Friday were not immediately returned. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week President George W. Bush has proposed a handful of immigration reforms since taking office in 2001, but Congress has done little to take on the largely divisive and partisan issue. Saca said he also discussed with Villaraigosa his Central American nation’s recent request to allow undocumented Salvadorans to stay in the United States while El Salvador rebuilds from Hurricane Stan. Stan ripped through Latin America early this month, killing about 800 in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador and leaving thousands homeless. Saca said he made the request in a letter to Bush last week. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Homeland Security secretary can grant temporary protected status to illegal aliens in the United States whose countries are suffering ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or other conditions.