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

Nicaraguan Immigrants To Lose Temporary Protected Status In The US

Immigration advocates decried a Department of Homeland Security decision to end Temporary Protected Status for 2,500 Nicaraguans who have been living in the United States for almost 20 years.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paved the way for TPS to be withdrawn for Central Americans and Haitians by sending a letter to DHS stating that conditions in those countries had improved to the point that people no longer needed protection.

Immigration authorities say the TPS program was designed as a temporary humanitarian response to crises in Central America and Haiti, and it was never meant to be a path to permanent residency or USA citizenship.

"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 addition, the DHS said the Nicaraguan government did not request that TPS be extended for its citizens in the United States.

"Haiti is a textbook case for an 18-month extension due to Hurricane Matthew, the cholera epidemic, and incomplete natural disaster recovery", said Steve Forester, immigration policy coordinator with the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.

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. Their protection was set to expire January 5.

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Proponents of TPS for people from Central America and Haiti argue that ending the designation for those countries is counterproductive and could also drive more illegal immigration. DHS can renew the program for up to 18 months at a time. Haitians affected by the decision number 46,000.

According to one study, Haitians, Salvadorans and Hondurans comprise the three largest TPS holders and together have a total of 273,000 children who were born in the USA and have American citizenship. Nicaraguan immigrants, who have lived in the United States for almost two decades, will have 12 months to leave their homes. "Your typical TPS recipient will not fall into those priorities".

There are bipartisan legislative options now before Congress to protect TPS families. "They've been getting working and they have 275,000 citizen children".

The officials said the administration would support any effort by the U.S. Congress to find a more permanent solution for the Nicaraguans.

"I'm not here to be a delinquent, to be a problem to this country", Florida resident and TPS holder Yolnick Jeune previously told ThinkProgress, explaining that after she arrived in the United States, she learned English so that she would assimilate as quickly as possible.

The Trump administration eliminated temporary legal residency and deportation relief for thousands of immigrants from Nicaragua.

While spared on Monday, Honduran TPS recipients say the extension just draws out the fear that their permits will not be renewed. But the fate of TPS is more tenuous under President Donald Trump whose executive orders on immigration aim to limit legal immigration and deport undocumented immigrants.

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