The United States is often seen as a refuge for people trying to escape a war-torn nation, or a nation that has been struck by a natural disaster. Many people in Kentucky and elsewhere support initiatives to help these people legally reside in the U.S. However, one program that allowed Hondurans to reside and work in the U.S. temporarily is soon coming to an end, affecting the lives of thousands.
The Trump administration put an end to a 20-year Temporary Protected Status program for Hondurans that allowed them to lawfully reside and work in the country. There are 57,000 Hondurans in the country under this program, but they now only have until January 2020 to leave the U.S. or stay in the country as an undocumented immigrant.
This issue is made all the more serious because the 53,000 children born in the U.S. to these Hondurans are considered citizens of the U.S. Now these parents must decide whether to leave the U.S. with their children to return to an unfamiliar country, leave their children in the U.S. while they return to Honduras or stay in the U.S. where they could be subject to deportation if apprehended.
TPS is given to foreign nationals who are in the U.S. because their home country is either ravaged by war or has become decimated by an act of nature. Hondurans gained TPS in 1999 when a hurricane devastated the country. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that Honduras is now able to take back those who left the country after the hurricane. However, the Honduran Embassy and others claim that the nation is experiencing a great deal of gang violence along with drug cartels, problems which will only be exasperated if the Hondurans residing in the U.S. under TPS return.
Unfortunately, this move by the Trump administration will greatly affect many Hondurans living in the U.S. under the TPS program. They will have to make some very difficult decisions over the coming months. Those who want to remain in the U.S. but are concerned about deportation and removal will want to research their rights, so they can make educated choices regarding their future.
Source: USA Today, "Trump administration ends special immigration protections for 57,000 Hondurans," Alan Gomez, May 4, 2018