Trump Administration Ends Protections for Nicaraguans, Extends TPS for Hondurans
November 13, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will terminate the
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Nicaraguans. According to DHS, the approximate 5,300 Nicaraguans currently on TPS will have until January 5, 2019, to prepare to depart the US or legalize their status.
The administration has also decided to extend for 6 months TPS for over 58,000 Hondurans. DHS specified that it’s still waiting for additional information in order to make a determination whether Honduran TPS will be extended for a longer duration or terminated. TPS designation for Honduras will be extended for six months from the current January 5, 2018 date of expiration to the new expiration date of July 5, 2018.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a special benefit provided to citizens or nationals of certain countries where the DHS has determined it is not safe to return due to an environmental disaster, an ongoing conflict, or other similar circumstance. During the period in which a country is designated for TPS, an individual who is eligible for the benefit is not subject to removal, can obtain work authorization, and can apply for a travel permit. Nicaragua and Honduras were designated TPS countries after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998.
DHS' announcement was also awaited by over 260,000 Salvadorans, the largest population currently covered by TPS in the US. The TPS for Salvadorans is currently due to expire March 9, 2018. TPS for Haitians, covering approximately 50,000, is scheduled to expire January 22, 2018. DHS recently discontinued TPS for approximately 1,000 Sudanese in September 2017, with a final expiration date of November 2, 2018.
According to DHS, Nicaragua TPS designation was no longer justified because the adverse conditions no longer exist. The Nicaraguan government has not pushed for TPS renewal, while the governments of Honduras and Salvador have vigorously pressed the Trump administration to renew the designation.
The decision comes after the US Department of State called on DHS to end protections for Central American countries and Haiti, claiming that the conditions in these countries no longer require a reprieve from deportation.
Administration officials have indicacted that the TPS designation for Honduras might be terminated at the end of the 6 months extension. DHS has until Thanksgiving Day to make an announcement concerning nearly 50,000 Haitians with protected status. It is expected DHS will make their announcement regarding TPS for El Salvador by mid January 2018.
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