Washington, DC, USA: 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.