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U.S. to end protected status for Nicaraguan immigrants in 2019

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday.

A U.S. flag flutters over top of the skyline of New York (R) and Jersey City (L), as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, August 6, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

They also said the program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, would be extended until July 2018 for about 86,000 Honduran immigrants, but added it could then be terminated.

The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans is part of President Donald Trump’s broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from across Central America live and work in the United States, but some are protected from the threat of deportation under the TPS program.

Thousands from both Nicaragua and Honduras were given the special status in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America. In all, TPS protects more than 300,000 people from nine countries living in the United States.

Trump’s administration was faced with a Monday deadline to announce its decision on Nicaragua and Honduras.

Critics have complained the TPS program allows participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments in case of a natural disaster, civil strife or other emergencies in their homelands.

In the case of Nicaragua, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke decided the conditions caused by Hurricane Mitch “no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.

The TPS for thousands of Nicaraguans was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2018, but it was delayed by 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.”

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-protections/u-s-to-end-protected-status-for-nicaraguan-immigrants-in-2019-idUSKBN1D704X

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