The Department of Homeland Security announced it was ending the Temporary Protected Status of 60,000 Hondurans who have lived in the U.S. for nearly two decades and they have until January 5, 2020, to return to their country or find other paths to remain here. The immigrants will have one chance to apply for TPS and after the 18 month period allowed, they will be unable to live or work in the U.S legally and will be vulnerable to deportation.
Hondurans Become the Latest Group to Be Stripped Off of Protection
Hondurans were first allowed to remain and work here in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch hit their country, killing 7,000 people and causing billions in damages. The trump administration is stripping TPS from Honduran immigrants with claims that their country has recovered from the Hurricane and that the basis for TPS designation is no longer substantial. But critics who’ve already filed several lawsuits argue that Honduras is a place plagued by political repression and systemic gang violence and many are actually trying to flee.
The decision continues the administration’s aggressive campaign against immigrants. Several other beneficiaries have had their protection ended, including 20,000 El Salvadorans expected to leave by September 2019, 60,000 Haitians who must leave by July 2019; 5,300 Nicaraguans whose time runs out next January; and 9,000 Nepalis who have until May 2019. More than 400,000 people living in the country legally will have turned into unauthorized immigrants by 2020.
TPS serves as a form of humanitarian relief offered to individuals who fled their country in the aftermath of natural disasters, war, or other humanitarian crises where the conditions made their country unsafe. Ten countries are currently in the program. The beneficiaries are undocumented individuals with some form of temporary immigration status, those who overstayed a visa, or those were already in the country. Although meant to be temporary, previous administrations have continually extended the protection on a yearly basis and the beneficiaries have since established roots, raised families, and opened businesses here.
Hondurans who wish to remain in the United States through the 2020 deadline must re-register and apply for work authorization.