DHS ends protected immigration status for Nicaraguans, extends for Hondurans

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The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans will affect approximately 2,500 people.

The United States has ended the Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, program for Nicaraguan migrants living in the country, EFE reported.

Duke also announced the automatic extension for six months of TPS for Hondurans, explaining that further study was needed on conditions in the northern Central American country.

Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are allowed to live and work in the USA if it is determined that they are unable to safely return to their home country because of an environmental disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary conditions.

The 1998 hurricane killed more than 2,000 people in Nicaragua and caused over $1 billion in damage. Already, 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients, who expect administrative decisions by Thanksgiving, are preparing for the worst.

The deadline for a decision on Honduras was extended six months, until July 5, 2018. Just under 60,000 Hondurans have received TPS.

Norma Portos is an immigration lawyer who has worked with Salvadoran TPS holders living in NY. "If Congress doesn't act, they will be complicit in the morally repulsive mass expulsion of American families who have lived in this country for almost two decades".

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Nicaragua and Honduras were originally designated January 5, 1999, because of destruction wrought by Hurricane Mitch.

Cecilia Menjívar, a professor of sociology at Kansas University who studies TPS, said that most Central American immigrants protected by the program have been in the USA for about 20 years and are unlikely to leave, regardless of the DHS decision. Roughly 250,000 US citizens are the offspring of TPS beneficiaries, so the announcement would likely force many families to make the hard decision of having to take their children with them. The department added that the Nicaraguan government had not requested that the programmed be extended.

"These are people who have had to go to the Department of Homeland security every 18 months, and have shown their papers, their information, their records, have paid to be renewed".

McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said USA law is meant to be implemented "with a certain degree of kindness and compassion", and that sending people to countries that are ill-prepared to welcome them would do far more harm than good.

The acting homeland security secretary says the program is no longer necessary for Nicaraguans in the U.S. El Salvador became the first country to receive TPS designation in 1990 in the aftermath of the country's civil war. "If the administration ends TPS for Haiti, it will indicate an ideological agenda, intentionally ignoring the clear facts on the ground and violating the national security interests of both nations".

"The administration understands there are a number of individuals who have been in TPS status, potentially for 20 years, and given the lengthy period of the status here, [knows] that congressmen want to find a solution to find a more permanent status versus this 18-month to 18-month temporary fix", the senior administration official said.

The DHS has given the Nicaraguan migrants 14 months to leave the USA or change their immigration status. But the DHS said it needs more time to assess the post-hurricane conditions in Honduras to determine whether TPS will be continued for the 57,000 Honduran citizens living in the United States under the program. But while the country continues to suffer from extreme poverty, Kelly told members of Congress this summer that conditions for which TPS was granted have largely been resolved. We demand that DHS reverse their decision and keep TPS for immigrants from other countries under threat. "This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to dehumanize immigrants and communities of color, particularly when they are in their greatest need. And in fact by not renewing the Temporary Protected Status. they have actually made matters worse", Rodriguez said.