Official: Admin Open To Amnesty Deal For Non-DACA Illegals

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The Trump administration is open to an amnesty for illegal immigrants not covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, according to an administration official.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was talking to reporters Monday about the Department of Homeland Security’s decision regarding Temporary Protected Status for roughly 86,000 Hondurans and 5,300 Nicaraguans. The two nations have received TPS since 1999 and it gives them access to public benefits, protection from deportation and the ability to work.

The program is designed for immigrants who can’t return to their home country due to a disaster of sorts, both Honduras and Nicaragua were hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke decided to terminate TPS for Nicaragua with the end date in January 2019, and delay her decision on the status for Honduras.

The administration official said that there “are a number of individuals who have been in a TPS status” for two decades. He couldn’t give the amount of TPS beneficiaries who are illegal immigrants, however, the nature of the program means that beneficiaries don’t currently have legal status in the U.S.

“Given the lengthy period of their presence here Congress may wish to find a solution that allows them a more permanent status versus this 18 month to 18 month temporary fix that has been going on for two decades,” the official said. “That is up to Congress, but the administration would support Congress’ efforts to find such a solution.”

President Donald Trump announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in September and called on Congress to give the roughly 800,000 DACA beneficiaries legal status. He has since said that he expects a DACA amnesty deal to be paired with chain-migration reforms, which would in effect lower legal immigration.

The official did not lay out any negotiating position in regards to a TPS amnesty, but added, “We do hope and encourage Congress to look at this and find a solution.”

Three Florida congressmen introduced legislation last week to give legal permanent resident status to over 300,000 illegal immigrants covered by TPS from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.