Trump Eliminates TPS Protections for Nicaraguan Migrants

Around 86,000 Honduran immigrants may see their Temporary Protected Status terminated in 2018.   REUTERS  Lucas Jackson

Around 86,000 Honduran immigrants may see their Temporary Protected Status terminated in 2018. REUTERS Lucas Jackson

The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation. Immigration advocates in Miami hold a press conference on Monday in reaction to the possible termination of Temporary Protected Status for more than 300,000 Haitians and Central Americans.

The status had been granted to some Nicaraguans who had fled their homeland after the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

"They have roots in this country".

On Monday, DHS determined that Nicaraguan TPS holders can now return home and said that the Nicaraguan government will adequately handle their return.

Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, (R-Fl), is one of several Florida Republicans who had called for an extension of TPS; he criticized the decision in a statement.

He called on policymakers in Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump to recognize that Nicaraguans, Hondurans and other TPS holders are vibrant members of their parishes, neighborhoods and workplaces.

Proponents of TPS for people from Central America and Haiti argue that ending the designation for those countries is counterproductive and could also drive more illegal immigration.

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But Kang warned that "we need to be very careful about military options", adding that they "are there to give strength to diplomacy".

Critics have complained the TPS program allows participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments in case of a natural disaster, civil strife or other emergencies in their homelands. Already, 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients, who expect administrative decisions by Thanksgiving, are preparing for the worst. She said that there is a lot uncertainty, especially for those with little options to adjust their status and get permanent residency.

In March, DHS extended TPS for Haiti by six months, although many interpreted this move as a sign that they opposed the program and would be terminating it this fall. "My hope is they change the legislation to make this a permanent thing for all the TPS recipients".

Nicaragua made no such call to the US government, according to the DHS statement.

Congress is the only body with the authority to create a path to permanent legal status for TPS holders.

As ThinkProgress previously reported, some Haitian parents are weighing the costs of leaving their children here in the United States if they have to return.

BuzzFeed News previously reported that years after the United States designated El Salvador and Honduras for TPS, only residual effects of the natural disasters exist, but they have been compounded by unemployment and gang violence.

"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. The Trump administration will not consider them a priority for deportation, but they will be eligible for it, a DHS official told reporters Monday night.

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