Bit by bit, President Donald Trump’s administration is living out his promise on immigration. What Trump promised has become a real nightmare for Haitians, Salvadorans, Nepalese and now Hondurans.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently announced that the agency is terminating the Temporary Protected Status designation for Honduras. That means that this coming January, approximately 57,000 Honduran TPS holders will be subject to deportation.
“The decision to terminate TPS for Honduras was made after a review of the environmental disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original 1999 TPS designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist, as required by statute,” read the announcement from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. “Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an interagency consultation process, the secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial.”
According to a 2016 study from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Honduras holds the second-highest rate of nationals murdered after their deportation.
“The Department of Homeland Security’s decision to terminate TPS for 60,000 people from Honduras who have been living in the U.S. is a cruel and completely unnecessary attempt to destroy the lives of immigrants and their American children,” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa in a statement. “This decision is a clear result of deep-seated anti-immigrant sentiment and clearly did not come from a sound evaluation of the conditions faced by Hondurans abroad.”
According to the DHS, conditions in Honduras have improved since Hurricane Mitch in 1998. DHS officials said that to allow for an orderly transition, the effective date of TPS termination will be delayed 18 months so individuals can either arrange their departure or seek an alternate means of achieving “lawful” immigration status in the United States.
Amanda Baran, consultant to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said that any Honduran who is sent back could meet a potentially scary fate.
“Deportation will be a death sentence for some Hondurans, and the fact that the White House can know this and still proceed today with this reckless policy decision to terminate their TPS status is deplorable,” stated Baran. “Hondurans have become deeply rooted in U.S. society since they were forced to flee the dangerous and disastrous conditions of their native country, which still have not yet improved. Promising Hondurans relief only to abandon that promise—when we know the danger that awaits their return—is unconscionable.”
Figueroa added, “DHS has ignored that Honduras continues to face dangerous conditions following the country’s 2017 presidential election and thousands of Honduran immigrants are currently appealing to the U.S for asylum from this danger. It is not only wrong to force Honduran TPS holders out of the United States under these conditions, it is especially inhuman and goes against our American values.”
DHS officials also said that Honduran citizens with current TPS registrations will have to re-register for TPS and apply for employment authorization documents if they want to legally work in the U.S. between now and when the termination of Honduras’ TPS becomes effective Jan. 5, 2020.
“True to form, this administration deliberately chose to wreak havoc on the lives of nearly 57,000 Hondurans and their tens of thousands of U.S-born children,” said Sanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in a statement. “In the past six months, this administration has inhumanely stripped TPS from 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, 9,000 Nepalese, 2,500 Nicaraguans and 1,000 Sudanese—a continuation of its immoral anti-immigrant agenda.”