Trump administration ends immigration program protecting Central Americans from deportation

Nov 08, 2017, 00:22
Trump administration ends immigration program protecting Central Americans from deportation

In a statement issued Monday night, the Department of Homeland Security said that Nicaraguans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) have until January 5, 2019 in order to return home or seek a permanent immigration status.

On Tuesday a group that included immigration and legal advocates criticized the delay in extending TPS to approximately 60,000 Hondurans protected by the program, who will receive TPS until July 2018.

"The decision to end TPS status for Nicaragua is part of Trump's racist drive to force millions of people of color underground, into jails and out of the country".

Hurricane Mitch and the flooding it brought to Central America killed more than 19,000 people in 1998. Haitians status is set to expire in January 2018, affecting about 50,000 people, majority in Florida, while Sanvadorans' status expires in March 2018, affecting almost 200,000 people.

But the bigger impact will come when the administration makes a final decision on Salvadorans and Haitians' status. Haitians got TPS after the January 2010 natural disaster that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

"We are looking at the fact that temporary protected status means temporary, and it has not been temporary for many years", DHS spokesman David Lapan said earlier this month.

Gladys Nunez, from Honduras, has had TPS for many years.

The Trump administration will end a temporary program that allows some Nicaraguans to live and work in the United States, while leaving the door open to canceling the same program for more than 200,000 Haitians and Salvadorans in the coming weeks.

The Trump administration eliminated temporary legal residency and deportation relief for thousands of immigrants from Nicaragua. Only Congress can provide a permanent solution for individuals enrolled in TPS. "That is for Congress to ensure that TPS is not "inherently" a temporary program, but is actually temporary, as the T in its name indicates", responded Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration (FAIR). They also made clear that the DHS would not specifically target TPS holders who become undocumented once their status expires, but that they would still "prioritize criminal aliens". The Miami Herald frames the renewals as being a longstanding "source of controversy" as the repeated 18-month renewals have allowed many to "temporarily" be here for as long as 20 years.

Given that numerous TPS recipients have been in this country for decades, administration officials said the White House would look to Congress to offer a permanent solution for TPS holders. "They are the fabric of our communities, and our economies and our industries", said Maria Rodriguez of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Congressional members, including Republican lawmakers, also called on the Trump administration to continue TPS.

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