The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, which gives foreign nationals temporary permission to live and work in the United States instead of being returned to countries that are deemed unsafe after facing natural disaster, armed conflict, or other emergency situations, is coming to an end for Nicaraguan immigrants.
Hondurans and Nicaraguans were given the opportunity to obtain TPS in 1998 following the devastation in Central America caused by Hurricane Mitch. Approximately 2,500 Nicaraguans covered by TPS will be provided 14 months of provisional residency in the United States before they are required to leave the country. The 57,000 Hondurans, 50,000 Haitians, and 200,000 Salvadorans whose TPS is due to expire in 2018 were not included in the recent announcement from the Department of Homeland Security. While TPS was always intended as a short-term status, some of these immigrants have been in the United States for as long as two decades. Nicaraguans affected by the announcement will have until January 5, 2019, to leave the country. If they choose to stay after January 5, 2019, they could face arrest and deportation. No determination on TPS for Hondurans automatically extends the current designation through July 5, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security has until Thanksgiving Day to announce its plans for Haitians with protected status.