Trump Actions on Protected Status Prompt Outcry from Latino Lawmakers, Advocates

The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation.

Per a statement, "Based on the lack of definitive information regarding conditions on the ground [in Honduras] compared to pre-Hurricane Mitch", the TPS protection has been extended for six months.

"The decision to end TPS status for Nicaragua is part of Trump's racist drive to force millions of people of color underground, into jails and out of the country".

The migrants were initially granted protected status in the USA after Hurricane Mitch slammed Central America in 1998, with renewals granted following other natural disasters. Their protection was set to expire January 5. Already, 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients, who expect administrative decisions by Thanksgiving, are preparing for the worst. Haiti received its initial TPS designation in 2010 after an natural disaster left 1.5 million people homeless and injured 300,000 people. "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".

"It is also important to remember that many people who have been granted TPS were in this country illegally at the time of the triggering events, and never had any intention of returning home", continued Stein.

Cecilia Menjívar, a professor of sociology at Kansas University who studies TPS, said that most Central American immigrants protected by the program have been in the US for about 20 years and are unlikely to leave, regardless of the DHS decision.

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"When this administration came into office they came wanting to address the issue of the undocumented immigrants".

But supporters of the program say Nicaraguan TPS holders have deep roots in the community and have been in the country for decades.

During the background call with reporters, senior administration officials emphasized that the USCIS agency - the organization overseeing TPS designation - would not "proactively share information with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding the expiration of TPS".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to DHS last week recommending the removal of Central Americans and Hattians protected under TPS.

In May, TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired. DHS can renew the program for up to 18 months at a time. As a mother of a 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, she said she would be forced to leave and take her two children with her. Earlier this year, the Trump administration ended TPS for Sudanese recipients, who were told to arrange their departure or find another way to legally stay in the United States once their status expires in November 2018.

  • Sonia Alvarado