In one year, Nicaraguan residents who came to the United States as refugees fleeing danger and despair will be asked to leave.
For some, they will be evicted from a place they’ve called home for nearly 20 years.
The Trump administration announced on Monday the decision to end the Temporary Protected Status program for about 5,000 Nicaraguans in the US. They have until January 2019 to return to their home country.
The program was launched by President Bill Clinton in 1999 when Hurricane Mitch struck Central America, devastating Nicaragua and Honduras, according to the Associated Press.
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Immigrants from Honduras, who number around 86,000, have not yet received final word on their ability to stay in the US; the DHS extended their temporary permits to July 2018.
Elaine Duke, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, said it’s no longer necessary for Nicaraguans to stay in the country.
She did say, however, that the 12-month period before their expulsion could allow time for individuals to apply for permanent lawful citizenship, and she urged Congress to enact a path toward citizenship for the affected individuals.
“Recognizing the difficulty facing citizens of Nicaragua – and potentially citizens of other countries – who have received TPS designation for close to two decades, Acting Secretary Duke calls on Congress to enact a permanent solution for this inherently temporary program,” the announcement from DHS said.
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There are some 435,000 people living in the US under the TPS program, from nine separate countries, who all came to the US after their countries were jeopardized by natural and manmade disasters, according to the AP. The Trump administration has been reviewing the status of those refugees over the past 10 months.
The Bush and Obama administrations both renewed the plan during those presidents’ terms.
Earlier this year, Trump notified 60,000 Haitians, many of whom arrived in the US following the 2010 earthquake, that they should return home.
The current administration has also sought to lower the cap on the number of new refugees the country will accept each year, even as the world faces its largest refugee crisis in history.
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