May 7, 2018 By Tara Law
Two weeks after it announced that it will end a humanitarian program that allows Nepalese to live and work in the United States, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declared that it will also end the program for Hondurans.
Honduras was given “Temporary Protected Status,” (TPS) which is granted to citizens of countries experiencing humanitarian crises, after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country in 1998. About 57,000 Hondurans are TPS holders, including 4,600 in New York, according to the Center for American Progress.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen said in a statement Friday that she has determined that the conditions in Honduras have sufficiently improved since the storm.
Hondurans’ status will expire on Jan. 5, 2020 “to provide time for Honduras to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens,” Nielsen said.
Hondurans TPS holders in New York have lived in the United States for an average of 22 years, according to the Center for American Progress. About 4,300 U.S.-born children in New York have Honduran parents who are TPS holders.
Maria Rubio, a Honduran immigrant and member of Make the Road New York, said that her community will not give up on their efforts to remain in the country.
“We have built our homes and our lives here, and now those who have had TPS in our community are facing the threat of deportation and separation from their sons and daughters,” Rubio said. “Trump and his appointees keep refusing to see the contributions we make to this country and recognize the conditions in our home countries.”
Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, decried the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants as “vindictive.”
“For the past 19 years, Honduran TPS recipients have made immense contributions to the social and economic fabric of our New York. How will America be greater or safer by forcing our Honduran neighbors, coworkers and friends to leave?” said Choi.
Congressman Joseph Crowley, who had also spoken out against the administration’s decision on Nepal, decried the administration for uprooting a community who have lived in the United States for decades.
“Ending TPS would undermine our diplomatic and national security interests in bringing stability and prosperity to Honduras and the region,” said Crowley. “I urge Republicans to join Democrats in calling on the administration to reverse this decision before these individuals are deported to a country that is still plagued by extreme violence and is unable to care for their basic rights and needs.”