DHS ends protections for thousands of Central Americans
- Marvin Ford
TPS provides temporary legal status in the United States to citizens of other countries where natural disasters or civil wars have made it too unsafe for them to return.
The decision will affect thousands of Nicaraguan living in the USA, who will have to seek "an alternative lawful immigration status" or leave the US.
Nicaragua made no such call to the US government, according to the DHS statement.
"While it is clear that TPS protection was meant to provide refuge for people of color in Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti, their homelands have yet to reach a place of safety or economic prosperity which would make their return feasible", Eddie Carmona, director of PICO National Network's LA RED immigrant justice campaign, said in a statement.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations argued that Central American nations which were granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch could not cope with the return of thousands of their nationals and extended the programme's duration.
Coming up early next year is also a decision for El Salvador, with roughly 260,000 people covered from that country, who have lived in the United States more than 15 years.
Both Honduras and Nicaragua received initial TPS designations in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated the two countries.
The US has announced that in January 2019 it will terminate a programme which gave Nicaraguan immigrants protection from deportation.
The government will review this program for Hondurans again in July 2018. "These are people who are working, who are paying their taxes, and we hope that when the time comes when they follow this process in the USA, that we will have the opportunity to have a renewal of the Temporary Protection Status or some way to have our countrymen continue to live in this country".
Latino advocates and legislators from both parties criticized the Trump administration's announcement that it would terminate a program that allows about 3,000 Nicaraguans to stay and work in the USA legally as well as delay the decision on whether to extend the program to recipients from Honduras.
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Elaine Duke said the country's TPS designation would therefore have to be terminated.
These groups are also in the country under the TPS program.
The Congressional Research Service said this month that only 57,000 people from Honduras and 2,550 from Nicaragua were expected to renew their TPS status.
Hondurans also have to have been living in the U.S. continuously since January 5, 1999 to qualify, also due to Hurricane Mitch.
"I'm not here to be a delinquent, to be a problem to this country", Florida resident and TPS holder Yolnick Jeune previously told ThinkProgress, explaining that after she arrived in the United States, she learned English so that she would assimilate as quickly as possible.
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 think we are criminals, and the uncertainty is just so overwhelming".
Congress is the only body with the authority to create a path to permanent legal status for TPS holders.
But for the 2,500 Nicaraguans, including Vusto, their time in the United States may coming to an end.
"We are sad by the news but feel fortunate that we got six months to keep lobbying in Washington", Portillo said.
"But after the shock of yesterday's announcement, it's hard for me to think about what will come next".
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