President Trump is ending temporary amnesty for about 50,000 Honduran nationals who have been allowed to stay in the United States since 1999.
In a statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Trump administration announced that they will officially end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduran nationals allowed to stay in the U.S. after nearly two decades following a hurricane in Honduras.
More than 85,000 Honduran nationals have used TPS to stay in the U.S., but only 50,000 still remain in the country. The new directive by the Trump administration will give those Honduran nationals about 18 months to return to Honduras or face deportation.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement:
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. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency 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. Thus, as required under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.
Since 1999, conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved. Additionally, since the last review of the country’s conditions in October 2016, Honduras has made substantial progress in post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction from the 1998 Hurricane Mitch.
DHS officials say the 18-month delay before Honduran nationals are eligible for deportation is to allow for “an orderly transition” and give Honduras time “to prepare for the return and reintegration of its citizens.”
Trump has made a substantial effort to gradually return foreign nationals given temporary amnesty through the TPS program back to their native countries.
Temporary amnesties granted to foreign national populations are often renewed for decades by administrations even though the original intent of the TPS program is to be temporary and not permanent.