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Trump Eliminates TPS Protections for Nicaraguan Migrants

08 November 2017

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will end for 2,500 Nicaraguans who had been living in the US under the program, and will have 14 months to leave the country, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The Trump administration on Monday said it is terminating temporary special deportation protections for thousands of Nicaraguans affected by a 1998 hurricane that devastated the Central American country.

It has been repeatedly renewed since.

"While it is clear that TPS protection was meant to provide refuge for people of color in Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti, their homelands have yet to reach a place of safety or economic prosperity which would make their return feasible", Eddie Carmona, director of PICO National Network's LA RED immigrant justice campaign, said in a statement.

Amy Shannon -senior advisor for Alianza Americas, a regional network of Latin American and Caribbean immigrant organizations involved in negotiating for the decriminalization of migration in the region- said the elimination of TPS would affect more people than the recent termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. TPS also enables beneficiaries to work legally in the United States and requires them to pay taxes.

There is talk at the Department of Homeland Security and Democratic and Republican offices about potentially using the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, which Trump wants to end, to help Haitians and other TPS members to get permanent residency.

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Elaine Duke said the country's TPS designation would therefore have to be terminated. Nicaraguans' and Hondurans' work authorization cards were set to expire on January 5, 2018.

Nicaraguans will now have until 5 January 2019 to legalise their status or leave, she said.

Majority arrived illegally but were allowed to remain under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which applies to migrants from several countries around the world. For more information, visit http://www.healthyamericas.org or call the Alliance's Su Familia National Hispanic Family Health Helpline at 1-866-783-2645. But it's unclear if that will happen, given the strong desire by some in the Department of Homeland Security and the White House to terminate the program.

TPS provides temporary legal status in the United States to citizens of other countries where natural disasters or civil wars have made it too unsafe for them to return. The Post reports the decision was keenly observed by the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans (here following 2001 earthquakes) and 50,000 Haitians (2010 quake) whose own TPS designation expires in 2018; the latter group will learn their fate by November 23, reports Politico. DHS can renew the program for up to 18 months at a time.

Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the conditions in Central America and Haiti no longer justify the need for protections under TPS in a letter to DHS. "They are the fabric of our communities, and our economies and our industries", said Maria Rodriguez of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Trump Eliminates TPS Protections for Nicaraguan Migrants