SILVER SPRING, Maryland - A political agenda, not the requirements of U.S. law, has led the Trump Administration to tell nearly 60,000 Hondurans they will no longer be protected from deportation by Temporary Protected Status.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced May 4 that TPS for Hondurans who have lived, worked and raised families in the United States for 20 years will end on January 5, 2020. TPS has allowed Hondurans who were in the United States at the time of Hurricane Mitch in 1998, the worst hurricane to hit the region of the century, to remain and work. They now face the cruel choice of remaining in the United States at their peril or returning to a country deeply embroiled in political crisis that lacks public safety, security and access to basic human services.
“The administration has attempted to paint a picture that it has no choice but to terminate TPS,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. “Its action seems to suggest that all of the past Republican and Democratic administrations that extended TPS for Honduras have not properly applied the law. To the contrary, it is the Trump administration’s action that disregards the law and the intent of Congress in creating TPS in the first place to safeguard human lives.”
CLINIC advocated for the administration to grant an 18-month extension of TPS based on the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Despite efforts to recover from the hurricane and subsequent natural disasters, the country is plagued by a housing deficit of 1.1 million homes, lack of access to safe drinking water that affects 638,000 people, and a food shortage that leaves 25 percent of the country’s children under age 5 chronically hungry.
CLINIC’s board chairman, Bishop Kevin J. Vann of the Diocese of Orange, California, said: “I got to know many Hondurans when I was in the Diocese of Fort Worth, as we had a relationship with the Diocese of Juticalpa. They not only were proud of their origins in Honduras, but contributed very positively to the life of the Diocese of Fort Worth and the economy of North Texas. Such action ignores all of this, and comes across as nativist and xenophobic.”
CLINIC outlined the clear case for redesignating TPS for Honduras in information presented to the administration.
“Due to staggering homicide rates and instability from the ongoing political crisis there, the administration can redesignate TPS for Honduras under the section of the law which allows for designation under extraordinary and temporary conditions,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s advocacy director.
“The administration has a choice,” she added. “Any statements they make claiming that their hands are tied under the law are meant to distract people from what is really going on here. It’s part of a political agenda that aims to end humanitarian immigration programs that save peoples’ lives. Like the TPS terminations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal and other countries before it, this decision cries out for Congressional oversight and judicial review.”
May 4, 2018
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