US ends protections for nearly 60000 Hondurans

Arturo Kim
May 5, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security said it will end the Temporary Protective Status designation for Hondurans.

Within the past six months, the Department of Homeland's Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ended TPS programs for more than 50,000 Haitians, 9,000 Nepalis, and almost more than 200,000 Salvadorans.

More than 50,000 people will be "condemned to misery", according to one immigrant rights advocate, following the Trump administration's decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans who arrived in the us after fleeing their hurricane-ravaged country in 1999.

Nielsen added that the 18-month delay will also provide time for Honduras to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens.

"Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial", she said in the statement.

The status is granted to those who are affected by hurricanes, earthquakes and civil wars.

"It makes the situation in Honduras and Central America worse and will assuredly come back to haunt us in time", Kevin Appleby, the senior director of global migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies said. The think tank estimates $159.3 million would be lost in state GDP annually without these workers, according to data published by the organization in October 2017.

"Sadly, Hondurans are only the latest group of people in my South Florida community losing their TPS status this year following Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Salvadorians", Ros-Lehtinen said.

Countries are added to the list as circumstances warrant, with renewals coming usually around every 18 months.

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In January, the Trump administration ended TPS classification for some 200,000 Salvadorans, who had been allowed to live and work in the United States since 2001. Those with it have generally been able to work and with permission, travel outside the US and return. He said Congress should help to create a pathway for long-time TPS holders to remain in the United States. They've been given deadlines starting in November for Sudan and throughout 2019 for the other countries to leave, or if possible, gain legal status.

Hernández, a key US ally in the region, received critical support from the Trump administration as other global actors raised doubts over the validity of his reelection.

"The hurricane that struck Honduras in 1998 is not the reason why its citizens still enjoy TPS protection in 2018", said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Refugees from Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen, who are in the USA thanks to TPS, have not been told to leave the country. That could clog up an already overwhelmed immigration court system and many immigrants may qualify for green cards under a special program for those who have lived in the country a long time, he said.

El Salvador actually had the protections twice, the first time in the early 1990s until December 1994. Cecilia Menjivar, professor in the sociology department at the University of Kansas, said while exact numbers are unknown, it's clear many stayed in the country when TPS was terminated. Some got permanent residency through family sponsorship, but immigration law has changed since then that "there are fewer avenues for legalization", she said.

Ramba Regmi, 53, a native of Nepal who's been in New York City for close to two decades, doesn't know what she's going to do.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

"There have not been concrete improvements in the security situation", Valladares said. "This is very hard".

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