Thousands of Nicaraguans in the US Just Got Bad News

In data shared with ThinkProgress, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency puts those numbers closer to 86,163 recipients for Honduras and 5,349 recipients for Nicaragua as of the end of calendar year 2016.

According to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, that initiative, created to favor immigrants after the devastating hurricane Mitch in 1998, is no longer necessary. Trump's cruel decision also underscores the fight to pass the American Promise Act, introduced by Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).

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.

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

Latino advocates and legislators from both parties criticized the Trump administration's announcement that it would terminate a program that allows about 3,000 Nicaraguans to stay and work in the USA legally as well as delay the decision on whether to extend the program to recipients from Honduras.

In September, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, the president of El Salvador spoke to the United Nations General Assembly and asked that the U.S. extend TPS to the 195,000 Salvadorans already living in the country. "If Congress doesn't act, they will be complicit in the morally repulsive mass expulsion of American families who have lived in this country for almost two decades".

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The presidents of both Honduras and El Salvador have urged the Trump administration to extend the program, citing the contributions that TPS holders make to their economies by sending money home and the destabilizing effects of thousands of people returning.

BuzzFeed News previously reported that years after the USA designated El Salvador and Honduras for TPS, only residual effects of the natural disasters exist, but they have been compounded by unemployment and gang violence. 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. She said that there is a lot uncertainty, especially for those with little options to adjust their status and get permanent residency. At tomorrow's confirmation hearing, Senators will have an opportunity to seek clarity from Nielsen about the direction the department will take on TPS and other immigration matters. Haitians affected by the decision number 46,000.

In May, TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired. Every 6 to 18 months, immigration officials determine whether TPS is extended for each country.

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

"I'm not here to be a delinquent, to be a problem to this country", Florida resident and TPS holder Yolnick Jeune previously told ThinkProgress, explaining that after she arrived in the United States, she learned English so that she would assimilate as quickly as possible.

Many advocates and lawmakers criticized the decision ahead of an official White House announcement. More disturbingly, Duke torpedoed the entire concept of offering temporary protection to people whose homelands have been affected by some unforeseen event.


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