U.S. to end protection status for Nicaraguan in 2019

08 November, 2017, 09:38 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • A plea against deportation

The Trump administration has announced it will end Temporary Protected Status - known as TPS - for more than 5,000 Nicaraguan immigrants in the U.S. But Homeland Security officials said they have yet to decide the fate of three much larger groups of TPS holders: Hondurans, Salvadorans and Haitians.

They also lamented during a call with reporters November 7 that Elaine Duke, acting secretary of Homeland Security, put off a decision on TPS for 57,000 Hondurans for six months, saying more time was needed to determine if they could remain in the US because of adverse social and economic conditions in their homeland.

Immigration authorities say the TPS program was designed as a temporary humanitarian response to crises in Central America and Haiti, and it was never meant to be a path to permanent residency or USA citizenship.

A decision on El Salvador's status, which was given TPS after its 2001 quake, is due on 8 January 2018.

Ms Duke said she needed more information.

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Amy Shannon -senior advisor for Alianza Americas, a regional network of Latin American and Caribbean immigrant organizations involved in negotiating for the decriminalization of migration in the region- said the elimination of TPS would affect more people than the recent termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"Although they were born here, we want to keep our children with us", she said.

Belinda Osario, a native of Honduras who works as a housekeeper at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, told reporters that living her life in six-month increments waiting for a decision on TPS was "like a torture".

TPS is granted to immigrants from a handful of countries that have been beset by crises like war or natural disaster. Barahona said she would probably remain in the United States illegally and "stay as long as possible". Those countries are among nine that Reuters reports TPS now covers; the other five are Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

DHS ended TPS for several African nations this year, including Sudan and Sierra Leone, but Central Americans and Haitians make up the vast majority of TPS recipients, and they are the longest tenured. While it was due to expire in January 2018, she said it would be delayed by one year "to allow for an orderly transition".

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The decision to end the status for Nicaraguans could be seen as a move to fulfil Trump's vow to tighten restrictions on immigration.

Trump administration officials acknowledge TPS beneficiaries are from countries afflicted with poverty, corruption and crime.

"They have roots in this country". It's typically renewed every 18 months.

Kelly, now White House chief of staff, said the goal of the six-month extension was to "allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States".

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