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United States sets final date for Nicaraguan immigrants' protected status

United States sets final date for Nicaraguan immigrants' protected status

United States sets final date for Nicaraguan immigrants' protected status

Most of the TPS migrants arrived in the United States without legal papers but were allowed to stay and work because of instability in their home countries.

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.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) eliminated the provision for Nicaraguans after determining they no longer needed relief from "substantial but temporary conditions" caused by the hurricane that ravaged the Central American country almost 20 year ago.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paved the way for TPS to be withdrawn for Central Americans and Haitians by sending a letter to DHS stating that conditions in those countries had improved to the point that people no longer needed protection.

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.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations argued that Central American nations which were granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch could not cope with the return of thousands of their nationals and extended the programme's duration.

A bipartisan coalition of legislators led by Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., proposed a bill last week that would grant TPS recipients from Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua a chance to apply for permanent residency.

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

"Every 16 hours there is a woman killed in Honduras", said Oscar Chacón from the Alianza Américas, stating the country remains one of the most risky places in the world. "I'm not taking my family to a unsafe zone". Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans can lose TPS status as compared to the 30,000 Salvadorans who have DACA, according to figures on the Department of Homeland Security's website.

El Salvador originally got its protected status following two separate earthquakes in 2001.

Majority arrived illegally but were allowed to remain under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which applies to migrants from several countries around the world. "People have been here for 25 years", Shannon said, "and for 25 years they have been working with a legal temporary visa". She said that there is a lot uncertainty, especially for those with little options to adjust their status and get permanent residency.

The DHS has given the Nicaraguan migrants 14 months to leave the US or change their immigration status.

"They think we are criminals, and the uncertainty is just so overwhelming".

"They have roots in this country".

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