May 7, 2018
Following the devastation of Honduras by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Hondurans who were in the United States as of December 20, 1998 have been eligible to remain in the United States in Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The TPS program provides legal status and work authorization for those who meet the requirements, but as the name implies, it is not a permanent immigration solution, as it does not provide a pathway to permanent resident status.
While temporary in name, the TPS program for Hondurans has now been running for almost 20 years, and many who benefit from the program have spent their entire adult lives in the United States.
As announced by the Trump Administration on May 4th, the 57,000 Hondurans who hold TPS status will have to leave the country by January 5, 2020, or else lose legal status and work authorization. The administration claims to be ending the program because Honduras has now recovered from the 1998 hurricane, a debatable claim that ignores the fact that many Hondurans are currently emigrating and seeking asylum due to violence and political unrest. Vox’s Dara Lind further notes that this decision fits in with an overall gutting of the TPS program by the administration that will “have turned 400,000 people who are currently in the US legally into unauthorized immigrants.”