Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 5 News List

US to remove TPS for Hondurans

Reuters, NEW YORK and TEGUCIGALPA

US President Donald Trump’s administration said on Friday that it would end temporary protections for immigrants in the US from Honduras on Jan. 5, 2020, leaving potentially 57,000 people vulnerable to deportation.

It is the latest in a series of decisions by Trump to shut down temporary protected status (TPS) granted to immigrants after natural disasters or violent conflicts that would prevent them from safely returning to their home countries.

The government of Honduras said on Friday that it “profoundly regrets the cancelation of the program” and pledged free legal and consular support for Hondurans living in the US.

Marlon Tabora, the Honduran ambassador to the US, said the conditions did not exist in the Central American country to deal with the repatriation of tens of thousands of people.

“These families have lived in the US for 20 years and re-integrating them into the country will not be easy if they decide to return,” he said.

After El Salvador, Hondurans are the second-largest nationality with TPS to lose their status, which was granted to the country in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch.

The government had conducted a review and found “conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved,” it said.

The 18-month timeline to end the program would allow “individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration,” the US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

The Boston-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said later on Friday that it would amend a legal complaint filed in February to include the Hondurans affected.

The original complaint challenged the Trump administration’s decision to terminate a similar program protecting immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador.

The Trump administration in January ended TPS classification for 200,000 Salvadorans, who had been allowed to live and work in the US since 2001. Their status is to expire next year.

The administration also recently ended the program for Nepal.

TPS critics complain that repeated extensions in six to 18-month increments of the status, sometimes for decades, has given beneficiaries de facto residency in the US.

Most of the other countries that have come up for TPS review have had the status terminated, except for Syria, which is in the midst of a devastating war.

Karen Valladares, the director of the National Forum for Migration, a non-governmental organization in Honduras, said people continue to leave because of gang and drug-related violence and lack of economic opportunities.

“There have not been concrete improvements in the security situation,” Valladares said, adding that, in some ways, “Honduras is worse off than when they left.”

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