The Trump Administration is reportedly making more than 50,000 Hondurans who have been allowed to live and work in the U.S. since 1999, leave the country by 2020 or face deportation, The Washington Post reports. This specific demographic was granted access to American soil under the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS) because of Hurricane Mitch’s landfall in 1998.
Within the past six months, the Department of Homeland’s Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ended TPS programs for more than 50,000 Haitians, 9,000 Nepalis, and nearly more than 200,000 Salvadorans. Each group has 12 to 18 months to leave the country or find a legal way to remain.
Nielsen’s justification for ending TPS for Hondurans is that the country’s severe conditions following the natural disaster no longer exist. Nonetheless, Honduras has a high concentration of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. because of how dangerous the country has become.
Experts say Nielsen’s new initiative is the start to more problems for the Central American country. “It makes the situation in Honduras and Central America worse and will assuredly come back to haunt us in time,” Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies said. “There is little doubt that the White House has been driving these TPS decisions based on ideology, not based upon what is best for our foreign policy interests and for the region.”