TPS to End in January 2019 for Nicaragua, Future Uncertain for Honduras beyond July 2018
On November 6, 2017, Acting Secretary for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Elaine Duke announced that DHS will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua effective January 5, 2019. DHS decided that conditions in Nicaragua no longer justify extending the original TPS designation, which was made in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch. The Nicaraguan government did not request TPS status be extended. Absent an extension, TPS for Nicaragua was set to expire in January 2018. This announcement delays the effective date of this expiration for 12 months (until January 2019) to “provide time for individuals with TPS to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or, if necessary, arrange for their departure,” as well as to “provide time for Nicaragua to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens.” This decision impacts an estimated 5,300 Nicaraguans living and working in the U.S.
In the same announcement, Secretary Duke extended the TPS designation for Honduras, which was also set to expire on January 5, 2018, for six months or until July 5, 2018. DHS indicated it needs more time to assess the country conditions in Honduras from pre- and post-Hurricane Mitch before it makes a final determination on whether to terminate TPS for Honduras as well. There are 86,000 Honduran nationals currently protected by TPS in the U.S.
The Trump Administration has until January to make a decision on TPS status for El Salvador, which currently protects 200,000 Salvadorans from deportation, and must make an announcement by Thanksgiving Day with regard to the 50,000 Haitian nationals currently protected under TPS. While DHS makes the ultimate call on TPS designations, it seeks input from various other government agencies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has stated that TPS should be terminated for all Central American countries and for Haiti.
As reported by the Washington Post, it is estimated that TPS holders in the U.S. have over 275,000 U.S.-born children.