The Trump administration will decide in the coming days whether to renew protections for nearly 60,000 illegal immigrants.
Temporary Protected Status for Nicaragua and Honduras is set to expire on Jan. 5 and the Department of Homeland Security, and acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke must decide Nov. 5 whether to renew the status. TPS protects beneficiaries from deportation and allows them to receive public benefits and work permits.
The program was created to help people who are unable to return to their home nation due to a catastrophic event such as a natural disaster or civil war. However, despite being meant to be “temporary,” TPS has been renewed for Nicaragua and Honduras every two years since 1999, when they got the designation due to destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch. They are approximately 2,550 Nicaraguans and 57,000 Hondurans who benefit from the program.
“Whichever ways it goes, it’ll be amnesty Don or white supremacist Don,” an administration official told The Daily Caller about how the TPS decision will play out. A DHS spokesman did not respond to a press inquiry.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley voiced concerns about the program in a letter sent to DHS Secretary Duke Tuesday.
“Nationals of several TPS countries travel freely to and from the United States, indicating that country conditions are not so dire as to prevent a return to the TPS country,” Grassley wrote.
Honduras has been lobbying hard for the program to be renewed, and wants an additional path to citizenship for its 57,000 nationals that benefit from the program, according to Estrategia y Negocios. Republican Florida Congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, introduced legislation Tuesday that would give legal permanent status (green cards) to over 300,000 TPS beneficiaries from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.
This push comes as the Trump administration seeks a fix for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries and an implementation of merit-based immigration and several anti-illegal immigration measures including border wall funding.