Trump administration ends immigration program protecting Central Americans from deportation

Wednesday, 08 Nov, 2017

DHS' announcement has further significance for more than 240,000 immigrants from Haiti (46,000) and El Salvador (195,000) that are expected to learn if their TPS work permits will be ended in the coming weeks.

Trump Administration Announces The End To Protected Status For Nicaraguans The Trump administration is ending Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Nicaraguans who were given safe haven following devastating natural disasters decades ago.

Hondurans and Nicaraguans were given the protected status in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

TPS provides temporary legal status in the United States to citizens of other countries where natural disasters or civil wars have made it too unsafe for them to return.

Supporters of TPS slammed the administration's decisions.

Duke postponed a final decision in the case of Honduras, automatically extending the current temporary permits for Hondurans in the USA for six months, until July 5. Just under 60,000 Hondurans have received TPS.

Congress is the only body with the authority to create a path to permanent legal status for TPS holders.

"It's good news, even if it's six months, we'll keep waiting and asking God for this country to give us more time, so we can stay here", Nunez said in Spanish.

The decision affects about 2,500 Nicaraguans, many of whom have lived in the USA for almost two decades, raising US-born children.

Nicaragua and Honduras were originally designated January 5, 1999, because of destruction wrought by Hurricane Mitch. Only Congress can provide a permanent solution for individuals enrolled in TPS.

Previous administrations have renewed the TPS for Honduras at least ten times, according to Vox. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said Nicaraguans living in the United States under TPS will be given 12 months "to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or, if necessary, arrange for their departure".

In March, DHS extended TPS for Haiti by six months, although many interpreted this move as a sign that they opposed the program and would be terminating it this fall. The department added that the Nicaraguan government had not requested that the programmed be extended.

McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said US 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.

"Congress must pass "The American Promise Act" to give permanent protections to thousands of Nicaraguans and other TPS holders who consider the USA their home". A decision on Haiti and El Salvador is due later this month.

Nicaragua made no such call to the US government, according to the DHS statement.

The United States granted TPS to Haitian nationals living in the US following the cataclysmic quake in 2010 that left more than 300,000 dead, 1.5 million homeless and an equal number injured.

Martínez is a member of a national alliance of organizations that has advocated for the renewal of TPS for all participating countries.

Central American immigrants have had TPS longer than any other group. "This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to dehumanize immigrants and communities of color, particularly when they are in their greatest need. That's unfair", she said of Homeland Security officials.