Legislators Criticize the US Decision on Nicaraguan Immigrants

The decision, announced by Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke late on Monday, will affect 2,500 Nicaraguans who have legally lived and worked in the country for almost two decades.

For the 2,500 Nicaraguan immigrants now protected by TPS, this move will be dire as these people have built lives in the United States and their native country has a great deal of instability.

"These are people who have had to go to the Department of Homeland security every 18 months, and have shown their papers, their information, their records, have paid to be renewed".

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote a letter to Duke stating he would like to end the provisional immigration program, citing improved conditions in Central America and Haiti.

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

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. The DHS will automatically extend the TPS designation for Hondurans for six months from the current January 5, 2018 expiration date to July 5, 2018, at which point the organization will again determine whether to grant another extension.

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

"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.

"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 unsafe places in the world. Haitians got TPS after the January 2010 natural disaster that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Trump officials are expected to issue decisions on the future of TPS for 50,000 Haitians in November and 200,000 Salvadorans in January. "That is up to Congress, but the administration would support Congress' efforts to find such a solution". As a mother of a 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, she said she would be forced to leave and take her two children with her.

Many advocates and lawmakers criticized the decision ahead of an official White House announcement.

"We are looking at the fact that temporary protected status means temporary, and it has not been temporary for many years", DHS spokesman David Lapan said earlier this month. "This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to dehumanize immigrants and communities of color, particularly when they are in their greatest need". 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. But the fate of TPS is more tenuous under President Donald Trump whose executive orders on immigration aim to limit legal immigration and deport undocumented immigrants.

  • Rogelio Becker