In a not unexpected move, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, announced on May 4, 2018 that Temporary Protected Status would terminate for Honduras on January 5, 2020. This will give the approximately 60,000 Honduran TPS beneficiaries eighteen months to arrange for their departure or seek an alternative lawful immigration status. The American Immigration Council has noted that these TPS beneficiaries may have as many as 50,000 children who are U.S. citizens.
TPS for Hondurans began in 1999 as a consequence of Hurricane Mitch. Secretary Nielsen noted that “conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved . . . [and] Honduras has made substantial progress in post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction.”
Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. Fla.), advocating for legislation that would allow immigrants who received TPS prior to 2011 to apply for legal permanent residence, stated: “Sadly, Hondurans are only the latest group of people in my South Florida community losing their TPS status this year following Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Salvadorians. The administration’s wrongheaded decision to rescind TPS for thousands of Hondurans in the United States will impact their lives in a tragic way. The loss of these hardworking people will have a negative impact on our economy, in addition to disrupting so many lives in our community.”
Other advocates for TPS have noted that Honduras is regularly listed as one of the world’s most dangerous countries and that Honduras is not ready to repatriate the TPS beneficiaries due to poverty, political unrest, a recent three-year drought and widespread gang violence.
Those Hondurans currently in TPS status will be able to re-register and extend their EADs until January 5, 2020. Details about this process will be forthcoming in the Federal Register. Hondurans should not submit re-registration applications until after the announcement appears.