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DHS ends Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans, delays decision for Hondurans

08 November, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Administration officials have been signaling their desire to end the protections arguing that a program that was supposed to provide a temporary respite after disaster and civil wars has instead become a permanent benefit. (Credit Carolyn Cole  Los Angel

The announcement comes before the administration is set to announce whether it will extend the program for Hondurans and Nicaraguans on Monday (UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security made a Monday evening decision about TPS for Nicaragua but said it needed more time to explore a decision on Honduras), and Haitians on November 23. Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to the department, possibly signaling a decision to remove the immigrants' protected status, telling them that conditions in Central America and Haiti no longer required them to be exempted from deportation.

Children hold posters asking the U.S. Federal Government to renew Temporary Protected Status during a press conference about TPS for people from Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

"The practical application would be that would be the date they would have to leave [the country] or by some other means regulate their status", one senior administration official said on the call. In data shared with ThinkProgress, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency puts those numbers closer to 86,163 recipients for Honduras and 5,349 recipients for Nicaragua as of the end of calendar year 2016.

Nicaraguans and Hondurans with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the respective termination or extension periods. TPS for Haitians expires January 22, 2018, and for Salvadorans, March 9, 2018. We demand that DHS reverse their decision and keep TPS for immigrants from other countries under threat. While infrastructure may have been rebuilt after the destruction, the status has been reauthorized every 18 months ever since because of the violent conditions in both countries. Haitians affected by the decision number 46,000.

For Rosa Cecilia Martínez, originally from El Congo, El Salvador, the elimination of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program would be devastating. She said that there is a lot uncertainty, especially for those with little options to adjust their status and get permanent residency.




Belinda Osario, a native of Honduras who works as a housekeeper at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, told reporters that living her life in six-month increments waiting for a decision on TPS was "like a torture". They also made clear that the DHS would not specifically target TPS holders who become undocumented once their status expires, but that they would still "prioritize criminal aliens".

Norma Portos is an immigration lawyer who has worked with Salvadoran TPS holders living in NY.

As ThinkProgress previously reported, some Haitian parents are weighing the costs of leaving their children here in the United States if they have to return.

More than 5,000 Nicaraguans and about 85,000 Hondurans are beneficiaries of that program.

BuzzFeed News previously reported that years after the USA designated El Salvador and Honduras for TPS, only residual effects of the natural disasters exist, but they have been compounded by unemployment and gang violence.

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