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  Posted 07 November 2017 - 12:09 AM

Trump Administration to End Quasi-Amnesty for Nicaraguans After 20 Years

Brendan Kirby
Polizette
11/6/17

EXCERPT:

The Department of Homeland Security indicated Monday that it would end a quasi-amnesty program for 5,300 people in the U.S. from Nicaragua, but extend it for 86,000 people from Honduras.

The U.S. had originally granted Temporary Protected Status to people from both countries after they were ravaged by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters late Monday that Acting Secretary Elaine Duke had determined that additional time is needed to consider the case of Honduras, triggering an automatic six-month extension.

The officials said Duke decided to end the program for 5,300 Nicaraguans but would delay implementation for a year. That means that the recipients will revert to their former immigration status on Jan. 5, 2019, rather than this coming January 5.

“The 12-month delayed effective date will allow for an orderly transition and provide time for TPS beneficiaries to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or if necessary, arrange for their departure,” the official said.

The official noted that while the Nicaraguan government had not objected to termination of TPS for its citizens living in the United States, the Honduran government had asked that it be continued.

Although the program is designed to provide temporary relief to people whose home countries are experiencing an emergency, the federal government periodically has extended the program for Nicaraguans and Hondurans. They are among 13 countries whose citizens enjoy TPS status.

Duke’s decision follows a determination made last week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that current conditions no longer justify TPS status for people from those countries or those from El Salvador and Haiti.

The approach to Nicaragua is similar to the one that President Donald Trump’s administration took when it decided to end TPS for Sudanese citizens but delay implementation. Given that, it is not surprising that the administration included a delay in its decision on Nicaragua, according to one immigration expert.

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