Washington, DC— On May 4, the Trump administration ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras, putting some 57,000 people at risk of being deported back to one of the world’s most violent countries. The TPS recipients have 18 months to either willingly leave the United States, obtain U.S. legal permanent residency by some other means, or else face deportation. The Department of Homeland Security previously extended TPS for Hondurans for a six-month period in November 2017, stating that it did not have enough information at that time to make a decision.
“After delaying its decision, it is baffling that any additional information provided to the Department of Homeland Security since November could have led them to make this cruel, misinformed decision on TPS for Honduras,” said Geoff Thale, Vice President for Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America, a leading human rights organization. “Honduras has not become more safe, it has become more dangerous in the past six months.”
Honduras, one of the world’s most violent countries, has been experiencing increased turmoil since last year’s highly contested presidential election. According to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Office, post-electoral unrest has led to 22 deaths at the hands of state security forces, with 60 more injured and thousands arrested. The unrest may have also driven increased numbers of Hondurans to flee the country: Mexico registered a 79 percent increase in the number of Honduran migrants stopped by immigration authorities in March, compared to apprehensions just prior to the November 2017 elections.
In press accounts, Honduran migrants recount instability, violence, and political persecution as reasons for leaving their homes. Even the U.S. Department of State warns against travel to Honduras, describing “widespread violent or organized crime.”
“A devastating natural disaster and years of economic uncertainty and political turmoil has led both Republican and Democratic administrations to keep TPS in place for Honduras,” said Thale. “These are people who’ve spent nearly two decades working hard, paying taxes, and contributing positively to communities across the United States. Forcing them back to Honduras could very well spark another wave of migration from the region.”
The Trump administration previously ended TPS for Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians. In total, the termination of TPS for these countries has placed some 313,500 people at risk for deportation. In addition, many TPS recipients are in mixed status families, with spouses or children who are U.S. citizens. Hundreds of thousands of U. S. citizens, including many children, will experience painful family separation, or removal to unsafe conditions in a parent’s home country.