Mayors from cities across the United States came together on November 2 to formally request the extension of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Nicaraguans and Hondurans.
The Department of Homeland Security can grant TPS to citizens of foreign countries who cannot return safely to their home for different reasons, including armed conflict, natural disasters, and other extreme conditions. TPS allows them to live and work in the United States temporarily.
Permits to live under TPS will expire for immigrants hailing from these Central American countries on January 5. Mayors across the U.S., including New York City’s Bill de Blasio and Miami’s Tomas Regalado, sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging for an extension of the permit. Tillerson has been lobbying for their protected status to end.
According to Mundo Hispanico, there are approximately 57,000 Hondurans and 2,550 Nicaraguans currently living in the United States. The letter’s signatories point to a significant loss of economic productivity that may result if their jobs are left empty.
The memo comes after Tropical Storm Nate swept through the region, leaving at least 15 people dead in Nicaragua and three in Honduras. The heavy rain also caused serious damage to roads and buildings and worsened the sanitation crises. The mayors argue that such conditions fall under the requisites for TPS designation.
The Honduran and Salvadoran governments have also teamed-up. Last week, representatives visited the White House in an attempt to persuade the Trump administration to extend the status. El Salvador’s TPS is set to expire in March of next year.
Honduras and Nicaragua have had TPS status since 1999 after Hurricane Mitch cut a path of devastation through Central America. On November 6, the Trump administration announced it is ending TPS for Nicaraguans, who must now leave the United States by January 5, 2018, change their residency status, or risk deportation. As for Honduras, the decision was deferred as DHS continues to evaluate the situation.