Nicaraguan migrants who have had temporary protected status in the United States will be subject to deportation starting in January 2019, the Trump administration announced Monday.
There are 325,000 people living in the United States under temporary protected status, meaning they cannot be detained by immigration agents, can travel outside the country with permission, and can obtain work permits. They come from 10 countries, including Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti, and are fleeing natural disasters, conflict, drugs, and gang violence. A senior Homeland Security Department official told the Los Angeles Times the department's acting secretary, Elaine Duke, has decided things are better now in Nicaragua, and migrants can start going back. She needs more information on Honduras, though, and extended the temporary protected status for Hondurans through July 5.
There are more than 5,000 Nicaraguans under temporary protected status in the U.S. and 86,000 Hondurans, and the administration had until Monday to decide whether to extend their protections. Some of the migrants have lived in the U.S. for up to 20 years, and the senior official told the Times the administration would support Congress if lawmakers ever came up with a permanent solution that let protected migrants stay in the U.S.