Monday night, the Department of Homeland Security revoked Temporary Protected Status for close to five thousand Nicaraguans who have been living in the U.S. since 1998, meaning they’ll be eligible for deportation in just over a year.
More than 80,000 Hondurans protected under the same law find their own legal status in limbo, as DHS did not come to a decision on whether to end their designation. Instead, their protection from deportation was automatically extended for six months while Acting Secretary Elaine Duke deliberates over their fate.
Temporary Protected Status, or T.P.S., is supposed to prevent foreign nationals in the U.S. from being deported when a crisis like a natural disaster or civil war has broken out in their home countries. In some cases, it’s allowed people to stay in the U.S. long after the crisis has ended. Hondurans and Nicaraguans, for example, have benefited from the status since 1998, when Hurricane Mitch tore through Central America. That means they’ve been living here for at least 20 years.
TPS was meant to be a humanitarian response to crisis, but has evolved into a semi-permanent legal limbo for over 400,000 people. Decisions are approaching for over Haitians and Salvadorans also protected under the program. After Monday’s decision, many fear these protections won’t last much longer.
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