Temporary Protected Status has come under vigorous attack by the Trump administration. As previously reported, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, appointed by President Trump has been instructed by the administration to scrutinize the TPS program closely to align with the President’s hard line stance on immigration. Within the last few months, the Department has mounted an aggressive attack on the TPS program, stripping El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Nepal of its TPS designation.
As readers may recall, during November of 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the TPS designation for Honduras would be extended for a period of 6 months from January 5, 2018 to the new expiration date of July 5, 2018, granting Hondurans under TPS an automatic extension. This extension was granted because the administration needed more information to determine whether the country’s designation would continue. As the new expiration date approaches, the day of reckoning may finally be here for nationals of Honduras under TPS.
According to reports released by the New York Times this afternoon, officials speaking on condition of anonymity have told reporters that the Trump administration has already decided to end the TPS designation for the country of Honduras, but has yet to formally announce the termination. The decision to terminate the TPS designation for Honduras is expected to be handed down on Friday.
According to the New York Times, Hondurans are the second-largest group of foreigners to benefit from the TPS program, with El Salvador being the first group. It is estimated that more than 50,000 Hondurans have been living in the United States since 1999 under the protection of the TPS program. If Hondurans are stripped of their TPS designation, in keeping with prior practices, DHS will give Hondurans enough time to arrange for their departure from the United States or seek alternate legal status in the United States.
It is very concerning that the Trump administration has decided to take such an aggressive stance against the program, given that drug trafficking and gang activity are among the main causes of violent crime in Honduras and other parts of Central America. Many of our clients who have successfully obtained asylum in the United States have had first hand encounters with drug trafficking organizations in Central America, and have either been subjected to torture by these organizations, or been persecuted by members of organized crime. Hondurans whose lives have been threatened in their home country have sought refuge in the United States since the inception of the designation in 1999.
If you are a national of Honduras and you are living in the United States under TPS, there may be alternative options available for you to remain in the country. We strongly recommend that you contact an immigration attorney to explore those options with you. One obvious option would be to apply for asylum. Individuals are eligible to apply for asylum if they have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, if returned to their home country.
Other options might include family-based sponsored if you have an immediate relative who is a U.S. Citizen, or employment-based sponsorship. Do not wait until DHS hands down a decision terminating the designation. Be proactive today.
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