The U.S. government announced that it will cancel the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Honduras.
The decision means that approximately 86,000 Hondurans currently covered by TPS will lose the right to live and work legally in the United States and will be subject to deportation if they do not find another legal way to remain in the country.
The announcement was made todaymarking 60 days before the expiration of the program for Honduras. This is the date by which the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had to give notice whether to extend or eliminate the program to allow time for preparation and re-enrollment of the program for Hondurans.
Currently, TPS for Hondurans is set to expire on July 5, 2018. But the government granted an 18-month window - until January 5, 2020 - giving Hondurans time to complete paperwork to remain in the United States or prepare to return to Honduras if they do not qualify for another immigration benefit.
Hondurans in TPS will have to re-register for the program to take advantage of the 18-month extension. DHS will publish re-registration instructions in the future.
Do not send any application until the announcement is made.
Reason for the termination of TPS for Honduras
The United States granted TPS for Honduras 19 years ago, after Hurricane Mitch devastated the country.
DHS indicated its decision in a statement issued today with the following explanation:
"The decision to terminate TPS for Honduras was made after a review of the disaster-related environmental conditions on which the country's original TPS designation was based in 1999 and an assessment of whether those source conditions continue to exist, as required by law. Taking into consideration available information, including recommendations received as part of an interagency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras by Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for the TPS designation has diminished to such a degree that it should no longer be considered substantial. Therefore, as required by the applicable statute, the current TPS designation should be terminated."
DHS asserts that since the last review of country conditions in October 2016, "Honduras has made substantial progress in recovery and reconstruction following the 1998 Hurricane Mitch hurricane."
Temporary Protected Status
As the name of the program indicates, it is a temporary benefit. It was anticipated that someday that relief would come to an end. President Trump's administration began eliminating and reducing TPS for other countries last year.
In November 2017, DHS eliminated TPS for Nicaragua and Haiti and only extended the program for Honduras for an additional six months, instead of the 18 months they had been granted in recent years.
In January 2018, DHS eliminated TPS for El Salvador and granted an 18-month window - until September 9, 2019 - to allow Salvadorans time to complete paperwork to remain in the United States or prepare to return home if they do not qualify for another immigration benefit.
Consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your legal options for permanent residency.