WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security of the United States announced on Monday the termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua, which will result in 5,349 Nicaraguan immigrants losing their permits to live and work on US soil.
The TPS for Honduras, meanwhile, which covered 86,163 Honduran nationals in the US, was provisionally extended until July 5, 2018, after the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, “determined that additional information was necessary.”
The TPS for Nicaragua will end on Jan. 5, 2019, with a delayed effective date of one year to “allow an orderly transition” so that the TPS holders could “seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States,” or “prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens,” to their native country.
The US government did not announce its decision on the future of the TPS for Haiti and El Salvador, which are also set to expire in the coming weeks, covering about 58,706 and 263,282 immigrants in the US, respectively.
The TPS is a migration program established in 1990 through which the US grants exceptional residence permits to people from countries affected by armed conflicts or natural disasters.
In recent years, TPS holders have seen their permits renewed automatically for periods of 18 months, but the Trump administration decided to reassess the program’s conditions.
Honduras and Nicaragua were granted TPS in 1998 after the devastating hurricane Mitch hit Central America. It was extended to El Salvador in 2001 as a result of a series of tremors, and to Haiti in 2010 following a devastating earthquake.
The decision to terminate TPS for Nicaragua was made after the DHS “determined that those substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.”
However, the DHS postponed its decision on Honduras “due to the lack of definitive information regarding conditions on the ground compared to pre-Hurricane Mitch.”
“It is possible that the TPS designation for Honduras will be terminated at the end of the six-month automatic extension with an appropriate delay,” the agency concluded.
Duke also called on Congress to enact “a permanent solution for this inherently temporary program” by “recognizing the difficulty facing citizens of Nicaragua – and potentially citizens of other countries” who have received the designation for almost 20 years.