US ends 'protected' status for Nicaraguans
Washington: The US government has announced the end of a program which gives 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants temporary protection in the United States, while tens of thousands of Hondurans will have their stay extended.
Most of them arrived illegally but were allowed to remain under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which applies to migrants from several countries around the world.
The decision to end TPS for Nicaragua on January 5, 2019, announced yesterday, comes as President Donald Trump's administration tries on many fronts to restrict the flow of immigrants and refugees.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said the end date would provide for "an orderly transition."
In a statement, she said she needed more information before making a final decision on Honduras. As a result, TPS for that country will be extended for six months from its current expiry date of January 5 next year, to July 5, 2018.
The migrants were initially granted protected status in the US after Hurricane Mitch slammed Central America in 1998, with renewals granted following other natural disasters.
Most of the TPS migrants arrived in the United States without legal papers but were allowed to stay and work because of instability in their home countries.
Duke determined that "those substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch no longer exist", meaning the TPS must end.By placing the deadline more than a year away, those eligible will have time to seek alternative legal status in the US, or to arrange their departure, the Homeland Security Department said in a statement.