US ends protections for nearly 60000 Hondurans

President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he arrives at Dallas Love Field Airport

More than 300,000 immigrants from about a dozen countries have been allowed to stay in the United States since the Temporary Protected Status program was created in 1990 by Congress.

The Honduran refugees first came to the US under the Temporary Protected Status, which allowed citizens of foreign nations to seek temporary asylum during war and natural disasters.

The Trump Administration announced Friday (May 4) that it was canceling the protected status of nearly 60,000 Hondurans living in the United State since Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1999. The Central American countries have had their temporary protected status extended by previous administrations continuously since the 1990s and early 2000s. The Trump administration has opted to end almost all of the temporary protected status designations on the books this year, including those for nearly 60,000 immigrants from Haiti, more than 250,000 from El Salvador, about 5,000 from Nicaragua and nearly 15,000 from Nepal.

The Department of Homeland Security ended the "temporary protected status" for about 57,000 Hondurans.

The government of Honduras said on Friday that it "profoundly regrets the cancellation of the program" and pledged free legal and consular support for Hondurans living in the United States.

Most of the other countries that have come up for TPS review have had the status terminated, except for Syria, which is in the midst of a devastating war.

Nielsen's justification for ending TPS for Hondurans is that the country's severe conditions following the natural disaster no longer exist.

"The Administration's decision to end TPS for Honduras is heartless and malicious", Frank Sharry, the executive director of America's Voice Education Fund, said in a statement.

An internal document recently made public shows that in the case of Haiti, DHS staff had written that "many of the conditions prompting the original January 2010 TPS designation persist, and the country remains vulnerable to external shocks and internal fragility".

After El Salvador, Hondurans are the second largest nationality with TPS to lose their status, which was granted to the country in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch.

The Boston-based Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said later on Friday that it would amend a legal complaint filed in February to include the Hondurans affected.

"There is little doubt that the White House has been driving these TPS decisions based on ideology, not based upon what is best for our foreign policy interests and for the region", Kevin Appleby of the Center for Migration Studies told the Washington Post.

"These individuals have integrated themselves into local communities across the country", Diaz-Balart said.



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