Trump Administration Announces The End To Protected Status For Nicaraguans

A plea against deportation

The Department of Homeland Security has ended Temporary Protected Status for Nicaragua, meaning that the 2,500 Nicaraguans living in the US under that special status have 14 months to leave the country.

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

Hondurans and Nicaraguans were given the protected status in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said USA law is meant to be implemented "with a certain degree of kindness and compassion", and that sending people to countries that are ill-prepared to welcome them would do far more harm than good. In data shared with ThinkProgress, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency puts those numbers closer to 86,163 recipients for Honduras and 5,349 recipients for Nicaragua as of the end of calendar year 2016.

No decision has yet been made about El Salvador or Haiti.

The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans will affect approximately 2,500 people. Their protection was set to expire January 5.

Central American immigrants have had TPS longer than any other group. Already, 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients, who expect administrative decisions by Thanksgiving, are preparing for the worst.

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Haitians and Salvadorans are also waiting to hear what the United States is going to do with their TPS designation. Roughly 250,000 USA citizens are the offspring of TPS beneficiaries, so the announcement would likely force many families to make the hard decision of having to take their children with them.

"I am shocked that my government did absolutely nothing to protect us from the elimination of TPS", Bernan Vusto, a TPS holder since 1990, said. They also made clear that the DHS would not specifically target TPS holders who become undocumented once their status expires, but that they would still "prioritize criminal aliens".

"We do hope and encourage Congress to look at this and find a solution", rather than have the executive sign extensions every 18 months, as has been the case for over 20 years, a DHS official said. "They've been getting working and they have 275,000 citizen children". 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.

Congressional members, including Republican lawmakers, also called on the Trump administration to continue TPS.

Ben Cardin of Maryland and the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Monday, before the decision on Nicaragua and Honduras was announced.

Other presidential administrations have both ended and renewed TPS without much controversy, as Daily Kos' Gabe Ortiz pointed out. The Post reports the decision was keenly observed by the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans (here following 2001 earthquakes) and 50,000 Haitians (2010 quake) whose own TPS designation expires in 2018; the latter group will learn their fate by November 23, reports Politico.

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