Washington, DC, USA: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans who have been in the United States since Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998. DHS gave them until January 2020 — the maximum 18-month period — to return to Honduras or seek different immigration status, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said friday.
TPS for 57,000 Hondurans was set to expire on July 5.
In a statement, DHS wrote that Nielsen based her decision on “careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process.”
“Since 1999, conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved. Additionally, since the last review of the country’s conditions in October 2016, Honduras has made substantial progress in post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction from the 1998 Hurricane Mitch,” the DHS statement reads.
Under TPS, citizens of countries undergoing natural or human-made disasters are allowed to stay and work in the United States at least until their countries can re-absorb the migrant population.
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.
But the Trump administration has interpreted the TPS statute more strictly than previous administrations, focusing on the temporary nature of the program. TPS is meant to protect foreign citizens from the after-effects of a particular crisis, not a country’s general situation.
The Trump administration previously ended the designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Sudan, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Florida Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, whose districts host many TPS recipients, reacted to the reports, calling for passage of the Extending Status Protection for Eligible Refugees Act, which would allow TPS recipients to apply for permanent residency in the United States.
Honduran immigrants have recently made news as part of a caravan of 1,100 migrants who joined together to trek across Mexico to reach the U.S. About 160 of those migrants have been allowed into the U.S. to request asylum.
EARLIER: TPS: Trump Ends ‘Temporary Protected Status’ For Nepal Earthquake Victims -The Department of Homeland Security, on Thursday, announced an end to ‘Temporary Protected Status’ for an estimated 9,000 Nepalese immigrants living in the United States, giving them until June 24, 2019, to leave or find another way to stay in the country
They were granted TPS status during the Obama administration after an April 2015 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people in Nepal, and it was extended for 18 months in October 2016.
But DHS said that after a review of conditions in the country, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen concluded the protections were no longer warranted.
The “disruption of living conditions in Nepal from the April 2015 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that served as the basis for its TPS designation have decreased to a degree that they should no longer be regarded as substantial,” DHS said.A view of the destruction caused by the April 25, 2015, earthquake in Inachok, Nepal. Photo: Supplied
Temporary Protected Status was created in 1990 to provide a safe haven for citizens of countries affected by war and natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. The status currently shields several hundred thousand people from 10 countries. It generally includes authorisation to work.
The decision on Nepal probably will be felt most acutely in New York and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which had the largest Nepalese immigrant communities in the United States in 2015 with 9,000 each, according to the Pew Research Center. Washington, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, also have large communities.
Since taking office, Trump has ended special protections for citizens of several countries, including Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti after determining that once-perilous conditions no longer preclude citizens from returning home.
Nielsen faces an early May deadline on whether to extend protections for an estimated 57,000 Hondurans living in the United States. Last year, the administration put a final decision on Honduras on hold. The TPS designation for Hondurans was automatically extended for six months.
The other countries with TPS designations are Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.