The Trump Administration Starts Rolling Back TPS Protection For Nicaraguans And Hondurans
The Trump administration has issued another blow to the immigrant community in the United States. According to an announcement by the acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Nicaraguans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will have until January 5, 2019 to either seek permanent residency in the U.S. or plan their return or Nicaragua. Hondurans currently on this immigration program were granted an extension on their expiration date to July 5, 2018. The Washington Post reports that 50,000 Haitians and 200,000 Salvadorans are also currently protected under TPS with expiration dates early next year. However, the announcement about Nicaragua and Honduras makes no mention of those two countries.
Temporary Protected Status is a designation assigned to refugees from countries that have been devastated by natural disasters, wars, or other situations that make it unsafe for people to return to their countries. In total, there are 10 countries that are covered under TPS policies including El Salvador, Haiti, South Sudan, Syria, and others.
“The decision to terminate TPS for Nicaragua was made after a review of the conditions upon which the country’s original 1999 designation were based and whether those substantial but temporary conditions prevented Nicaragua from adequately handling the return of their nationals, as required by statute,” reads the announcement. “There was also no request made by the Nicaraguan government to extend the current TPS status. Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.”
Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting delegate to the House of Representative, represents Washington D.C. with a sizable Salvadoran contingency and immediately spoke out against the announcement.
— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) November 6, 2017
There are around 200,000 Salvadorans currently living in the U.S. as TPS recipients and they renew their status every 18 months. Salvadorans make up the largest population of TPS recipients. D.C. has the second largest concentration of Salvadorans in the U.S. Salvadorans also make up the largest population of Latinos in D.C.
Nicaraguans and Hondurans were first granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998. The decision by the Trump administration will impact 2,500 Nicaraguans and 57,000 Hondurans. Both Presidents Bush and Obama regularly renewed the protected status allowing for immigrants from the two countries to stay in the U.S.