World

Trump Actions on Protected Status Prompt Outcry from Latino Lawmakers, Advocates

Trump Actions on Protected Status Prompt Outcry from Latino Lawmakers, Advocates

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. "They are hardworking individuals who have substantial roots in this country and have made contributions to our society and local economies". The Miami Herald frames the renewals as being a longstanding "source of controversy" as the repeated 18-month renewals have allowed many to "temporarily" be here for as long as 20 years.

The decision was likely to displease immigration hard-liners who have urged the administration to end the TPS program on the grounds that it was never meant to bestow long-term residency to those who may have entered the country illegally.

"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.

By 23 November, the Department of Homeland Security will have to make a decision on whether to extend protective status for 46,000 Haitian immigrants granted TPS after the 2010 natural disaster.

Cecilia Menjívar, a professor of sociology at Kansas University who studies TPS, said that most Central American immigrants protected by the program have been in the USA for about 20 years and are unlikely to leave, regardless of the DHS decision.

Some advocates on the call expressed concern that ending TPS would pose a threat to national security because the countries in question were ill-prepared to accept tens of thousands of returnees. In its wake, the U.S. granted Nicaraguans and Hondurans a Temporary Protected Status (TPS), meaning they were sheltered from deportation and allowed to get things like jobs and insurance.

Congress is the only body with the authority to create a path to permanent legal status for TPS holders. Although an announcement about El Salvador isn't expected for another few weeks (January 8, 2018), she said she's uneasy as she awaits the announcement about TPS. "We, the USA government, have created a situation where people have lived in this country a long time".

The decision will affect thousands of Nicaraguan living in the United States, who will have to seek "an alternative lawful immigration status" or leave the US. "But it would be a huge injustice to take them back to our countries".

"Although they were born here, we want to keep our children with us", she said. "That will send them underground, and make them subject to all sorts of abuses, but also without being able to contribute to the economy in the way they have been".

The Washington Post reported Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paved the way for TPS to be withdrawn for Central Americans and Haitians by sending a letter to DHS stating that conditions in those countries had improved to the point that people no longer needed protection.

"I'm not leaving. No matter what, I'm not leaving" said Osario, who has been in the USA for 26 years, the last 19 as a TPS holder. "As a mother, I am concerned for my family's well-being", she said.


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