The Trump administration announced Friday it is ending special immigration protections for about 57,000 Hondurans after a devastating hurricane two decades ago, adding them to hundreds of thousands of other immigrants from countries battered by violence and natural disasters who have lost temporary permission to be in the United States.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenNumber of caravan migrants allowed into U.S. rises to 158 Maryland crab industry loses almost half of workforce in visa lottery 53 migrants from caravan allowed into United States for asylum: report MORE gave them until January 2020 - the maximum 18-month period - to return to Honduras or seek different immigration status.
"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", the DHS statement read.
Temporary protected status must be extended for countries every couple of years, and the deadline to make a decision on Honduras was approaching this weekend.
Catholic Legal Immigration officials have been urging the Trump administration to grant an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status to Hondurans based on the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Previous Democratic and Republican administrations had more or less automatically issued 18-month renewals for TPS - the maximum statutory limit - especially for Latin American countries in the program.
Honduras has one of the world's highest murder rates outside of a war zone. The U.S. granted more than 86,000 Hondurans temporary protected status after the storm, the Washington Post reported. The U.S. knows the efforts we've made.More news: U.S. gains 164000 jobs in April; unemployment falls to 3.9%
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Under Mr. Trump, the Department of Homeland Security has terminated TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, Nepal, Haiti, and notably El Salvador, which accounted for more TPS holders than any other nation.
The program is still active for those from Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.
In early January, it was announced that the TPS program for Salvadorans would also end.
DHS typically terminates TPS for a country with an effective date in the future so people can get their affairs in order.
For numerous thousands of Honduras who live in the United States the Trump administration's decision is a death sentence. She said groups like hers have heard that before.
Following a US -backed military coup in 2009, in which the party of current president Juan Orlando Hernandez forcibly took power, thousands of Hondurans have fled the country, including numerous asylum-seekers who traveled through Mexico to the USA border in recent weeks, arriving this week.
The Boston-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said later on Friday that it would amend a legal complaint filed in February to include the Hondurans affected. "This is very hard".