The Donald Trump administration will decide in November, two months ahead of schedule, whether or not to extend the Temporary Protected Status to the nearly 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians in the country who are protected by the program.
News of an early decision has people worried that Trump will limit or revoke TPS, which could result in the deportation of nearly 60,000 Hondurans and 50,000 Haitians from the U.S.
TPS gives temporary legal status in the U.S. to citizens of other countries where a natural disaster or civil war make it too dangerous for them to return. TPS enables beneficiaries to work in the U.S., and to pay taxes but is not a path to citizenship. Hondurans and Haitians were given TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed agriculture in Honduras and 1.9 million homes in Haiti.
Honduran Minister of Agriculture Jacobo Paz told the Miami Herald, “We don’t have that capacity” to absorb the potentially 60,000 returnees. The nation’s economy is based on agriculture, but this isn’t viable for farmers who are already in the country. City services in Honduras couldn’t handle the influx of new residents. Leading Paz to conclude that “most of (the returnees) will try to go back."
A resident of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, Carlos Rubio said, “The most logical thing (the U.S.) could do would be to give these people citizenship ... They don’t understand they’re going to cause a problem rather than solving a problem.”
In addition to high unemployment in Honduras, the country has become one of the most violent in the Western Hemisphere after a U.S.-supported coup in 2009 overthrew democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya. Human Rights Watch reported that between 2014 and 2015 child homicides rose from 434 to 570.
This sudden, high rate of deportations from the U.S. will tear communities and families apart. Many program participants have been in the U.S. for nearly 20 years and have strong ties to the U.S. School children in Florida recently made a request to Trump to not end TPS, fearing that their parents will be sent back to Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador.
Salvadoran citizens received U.S. TPS status after 2 earthquakes in 2001 took out the infrastructure in entire regions of the country.
The program has been renewed several times for all benefiting countries until Trump began the review of the entire policy.