Legislators Criticize the US Decision on Nicaraguan Immigrants

Marsha Scott
November 8, 2017

The announcement comes before the administration is set to announce whether it will extend the program for Hondurans and Nicaraguans on Monday (UPDATE: The Department of Homeland Security made a Monday evening decision about TPS for Nicaragua but said it needed more time to explore a decision on Honduras), and Haitians on November 23.

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

The status was granted to Nicaraguans in the US following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The elimination of TPS protection for these groups would affect hundreds of thousands of people.

Critics say "temporary" should mean "temporary".

Belinda Osorio, a Honduran-American who lives and works in Florida and has been in the USA for decades through TPS, told reporters at a conference call on Tuesday that she would not put her 14-year-old son in danger by going back to Honduras, regardless of the administration's eventual decision. In a press release announcing her decision, Duke suggested that the long-term abuse of TPS that has resulted in over 400,000 people remaining here decades after the triggering event necessitates that "Congress...enact a permanent solution to this inherently temporary program".

After the termination of the TPS designation, individuals will revert back to whatever legal status they had before they received TPS, senior administration officials said on a background call Monday night. 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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"I am deeply pained by and strongly disagree with the decision to phase out the Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguan nationals living in the United States", said Díaz-Balart.

Now the Trump administration is planning to end it in January 2019.

Duke's announcement coincides with the start of the confirmation process for her permanent replacement, Kirstjen Nielsen.

Duke postponed a final decision in the case of Honduras, automatically extending the current temporary permits for Hondurans in the US for six months, until July 5. But it's unclear if that will happen, given the strong desire by some in the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to terminate the program. The secretary of homeland security decides whether a country is unsafe for its nationals to return, revoking or extending the special protected status.

A decision on El Salvador's status, which was given TPS after its 2001 natural disaster, is due on 8 January 2018. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that the conditions in Central America and Haiti no longer justify the need for protections under TPS. It's typically renewed every 18 months.

As ThinkProgress previously reported, some Haitian parents are weighing the costs of leaving their children here in the United States if they have to return. But while the country continues to suffer from extreme poverty, Kelly told members of Congress this summer that conditions for which TPS was granted have largely been resolved.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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