US Ending Immigration Protections for Tens of Thousands of Hondurans

NEW YORK — The Trump administration said Friday that it is ending special immigration protections for about 57,000 Hondurans, adding them to hundreds of thousands of immigrants from other countries battered by violence and natural disasters who are losing permission to be in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s widely anticipated decision not to renew temporary protected status for Hondurans means an estimated 428,000 people from several countries face rolling deadlines beginning late this year to leave or obtain legal residency in other ways.

Hondurans will have until Jan. 5, 2020, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said.

President Donald Trump — who wants to curtail legal immigration and has been cracking down broadly on illegal immigration — and his supporters note that the protections were never meant to be permanent.

Immigrant advocates decried the move and contend that ending the status will drive people underground who have been establishing roots in the U.S. for years or decades, including having American-born children.

For Hondurans, the program known as TPS has been in place since 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated in the Central American nation the year before.

The administration says conditions in Honduras have improved, while advocates argue that it still hasn’t fully recovered from the hurricane and is now plagued by rampant violence.

Trump, his opponents argue, is effectively adding tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people to the ranks of those in the U.S. without legal status.

Marta Connor, a 50-year-old union organizer in Southern California who has lived in the U.S. for decades and has three American-born children, said before the announcement that she wasn’t leaving, regardless of the administration’s policies.

“One thing I can tell you is I am not going to Honduras,” she said, noting that many of the asylum-seeking migrants in a caravan that recently reached the U.S.-Mexico border are from Honduras. “If they are coming, why am I going over there?”

By Deepti Hajela and Amy Taxin for WLKY
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