USA sets end for temporary residency program for Nicaraguans

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

On Monday, the White House announced an estimated 2,500 Nicaraguans will not see their TPS designation renewed; they have 14 months-until January 5, 2019-to get out or change their residency status to one that permits them to stay.

The acting homeland security secretary says the program is no longer necessary for Nicaraguans in the U.S.

Countries like Honduras and El Salvador have previously asked the Trump administration to extend the special protected status to its citizens. TPS also enables beneficiaries to work legally in the United States and requires them to pay taxes. The program does not grant permanent legal status.

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

Many hope the Trump administration will decide against eliminating TPS.

TPS provides temporary legal status in the United States to citizens of other countries where natural disasters or civil wars have made it too unsafe for them to return. Those higher figures likely stem from people who initially applied for TPS, but may not have necessarily maintained their TPS designation. Although an announcement about El Salvador isn't expected for another few weeks (January 8, 2018), she said she's uneasy as she awaits the announcement about TPS. Haitians got TPS after the January 2010 quake that killed hundreds of thousands of people. We demand that DHS reverse their decision and keep TPS for immigrants from other countries under threat.

Elaine Duke said the country's TPS designation would therefore have to be terminated. If they don't comply, they will be considered undocumented migrants and could face deportation.

"Based on all available information, the country conditions in Nicaragua now exceed Hurricane Mitch", said a senior administration official. But the DHS gave a less clear timeline for Honduras because it lacked "definitive information regarding conditions on the ground compared to pre-Hurricane Mitch". Just under 60,000 Hondurans have received TPS. While it was due to expire in January 2018, she said it would be delayed by one year "to allow for an orderly transition".

"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.

But the bigger impact will come when the administration makes a final decision on Salvadorans and Haitians' status.

TPS was established by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990.

Duke's announcement coincides with the start of the confirmation process for her permanent replacement, Kirstjen Nielsen. It's typically renewed every 18 months. "They are the fabric of our communities, and our economies and our industries", said Maria Rodriguez of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. More disturbingly, Duke torpedoed the entire concept of offering temporary protection to people whose homelands have been affected by some unforeseen event. "We, the USA government, have created a situation where people have lived in this country a long time".

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