Hondurans Are Latest on Trump's TPS Hit List Now Affecting 300,000 People

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Trump--continues his Sisyphean task of making America look like Norway. Photo: Gage Skidmore--Flickr.

The Trump administration's heartless decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras this past weerk thereby immediately jeopardizing the U.S. stay of 57,000 Hondurans has been widely condemned.

“Since TPS was first designated for Hondurans fleeing natural disaster, economic turmoil and violence, it has been renewed by Democratic and Republican Administrations, alike," said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). "As a result of the Trump Administration’s series of decisions to terminate TPS, 310,540 recipients are losing their status. The terminations account for 98% of the total number of immigrants participating in the program, and who now face potential deportation."

The Congresswoman said the "decision is yet another coldhearted attempt by Donald Trump to attack immigrants, simply to appease an extreme, far-right political base. We must thwart these efforts, which are an affront to our national values. To that end, I am working urgently with my colleagues and Congressional Leadership to push my bill, the American Promise Act, which would provide a path to naturalization for TPS recipients.”

Velázquez is the author of the American Promise Act, legislation to provide TPS recipients with a path to naturalization. The bill has been officially endorsed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and has 100 cosponsors.

The TPS recipients have 18 months to either willingly leave the United States, obtain U.S. legal permanent residency by some other means, or else face deportation

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said:

“True to form, this administration deliberately chose to wreak havoc on the lives of nearly 57,000 Hondurans and their tens of thousands of U.S-born children. In the past six months, this administration has inhumanely stripped TPS from 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians, 9,000 Nepalese, 2,500 Nicaraguans, and 1,000 Sudanese – a continuation of its immoral anti-immigrant agenda. Inevitably, families will be torn apart and tens of thousands of U.S-born children will be stripped from their parents – a move that will have devastating ripple effects. This administration’s heartless decisions will not only impact TPS holders, but our society and economy as well.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States.

"This decision is a clear result of deep-seated anti-immigrant sentiment and clearly did not come from a sound evaluation of the conditions faced by Hondurans abroad," said Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU. "DHS has ignored that Honduras continues to face dangerous conditions following the country’s 2017 presidential election and thousands of Honduran immigrants are currently appealing to the U.S for asylum from this danger. It is not only wrong to force Honduran TPS holders out of the United States under these conditions, it is especially inhuman and goes against our American values."

“These are members of our communities that make substantial contributions to our economy. It is more important than ever that Congress provide a more permanent solution for Honduras TPS holders, and TPS holders from the many countries who have seen their protected status canceled by the Trump administration, by passing one of the many TPS bills that have already been introduced this year," Figueroa, added.

The Department of Homeland Security previously extended TPS for Hondurans for a six-month period in November 2017, stating that it did not have enough information at that time to make a decision.

“After delaying its decision, it is baffling that any additional information provided to the Department of Homeland Security since November could have led them to make this cruel, misinformed decision on TPS for Honduras,” said Geoff Thale, Vice President for Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading human rights organization. “Honduras has not become more safe, it has become more dangerous in the past six months.”

Honduras, one of the world’s most violent countries, has been experiencing increased turmoil since last year’s highly contested presidential election. According to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Office, post-electoral unrest has led to 22 deaths at the hands of state security forces, with 60 more injured and thousands arrested.

The unrest may have also driven increased numbers of Hondurans to flee the country: Mexico registered a 79 percent increase in the number of Honduran migrants stopped by immigration authorities in March, compared to apprehensions just prior to the November 2017 elections.

Even the U.S. Department of State warns against travel to Honduras, describing “widespread violent or organized crime.”

“A devastating natural disaster and years of economic uncertainty and political turmoil has led both Republican and Democratic administrations to keep TPS in place for Honduras,” said Thale. “These are people who’ve spent nearly two decades working hard, paying taxes, and contributing positively to communities across the United States. Forcing them back to Honduras could very well spark another wave of migration from the region.”

The Trump administration previously ended TPS for Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Sudanese. In total, the termination of TPS for these countries has placed some 313,500 people at risk for deportation.

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