News & Politics

Administration to Yank 'Temporary Protected Status' from 57,000 Hondurans

Administration to Yank 'Temporary Protected Status' from 57,000 Hondurans
(Sipa via AP Images)

If they’re supposed to stay in the U.S. permanently, why call the program they enter under “temporary”?

Following a hurricane in 1999, the U.S. government granted about 57,000 Hondurans “temporary protected status,” preventing the government from deporting them.

The Trump administration is now planning to resolve the permanently “temporary” situation by pulling the plug on the program for Hondurans.


The government of Honduras said on Friday that it “profoundly regrets the cancellation of the program” and pledged free legal and consular support for Hondurans living in the United States.

Marlon Tabora, the Honduras ambassador to the United States, said the conditions did not exist in the Central American country to deal with the repatriation of tens of thousands of people.

“These families have lived in the United States for 20 years and re-integrating them into the country will not be easy if they decide to return,” he said.

After El Salvador, Hondurans are the second largest nationality with TPS to lose their status, which was granted to the country in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch.

The Honduran ambassador has a point. But he needn’t worry. The government is not just going to round up 57,000 people and dump them over the Honduran border. There will no doubt be many asylum requests as well as requests for permanent refugee status. Most of them will almost certainly end up staying in the U.S. legally.

The government said it had conducted a review and found “conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved.” The 18-month timeline to end the program would allow “individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

The Boston-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said later on Friday that it would amend a legal complaint filed in February to include the Hondurans affected. The original complaint challenged the Trump administration’s decision to terminate a similar program protecting immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador.

In January, the Trump administration ended TPS classification for some 200,000 Salvadorans, who had been allowed to live and work in the United States since 2001. Their status will expire in 2019.

The abuse of the “temporary” status for these refugees is ludicrous:

TPS critics complain that repeated extensions in six- to 18-month increments of the status, sometimes for decades, has given beneficiaries de facto residency in the United States.

In November, then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke set a deadline of six months to make a decision about TPS for Honduras, which is one of the most violent countries in the Western Hemisphere and recently has been convulsed by protests following a contested presidential election. Duke is no longer in charge, replaced by Kirstjen Nielsen.

Why Hondurans? Or Nicaraguans? Why not Kenyans or Nigerians? Those countries are ultra violent as is much of Africa. Why let people from one country stay because of violence while ignoring others? Is it proximity to the U.S. that matters? What difference does that make? This is not the Age of Fighting Sail. Clipper ships do not ply the Atlantic. It’s 7 to 10 days from much of Africa to the U.S. by cargo ship. That’s not close enough for ya?

In fact, there are a billion starving people living in conditions of violence, filth, and poverty who would board the first ship to America in a heartbeat if it was offered.

Are those weeping for the poor Hondurans (who probably aren’t going anywhere) racist? Don’t they want black Africans in the U.S.? I don’t hear much agitation to allow North African refugees to come to the U.S. Is “brown” superior to “black”?

There is no rational argument for allowing “temporary” residency to become permanent. But who says pro-immigration proponents are rational about anything?


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