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on immigration

DHS revokes protected status for 57,000 Hondurans, setting them up for deportation

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday ended a program that granted Temporary Protected Status to 57,000 Hondurans, reports McClatchy.

TPS protects citizens of other countries from deportation and allows them to live and work in the U.S. for some time if their home country is under significant turmoil. For tens of thousands of Hondurans, that turmoil was Hurricane Mitch, which slammed the country in 1998.

The Hondurans who came to the U.S. after the hurricane must leave within 18 months, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced. After January 2020, they will be subject to deportation or must seek different immigration status.

"Based on careful consideration of available information … the secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial," Nielsen said.

Honduras still struggles under volatile conditions, The New York Times reports, as political unrest and high homicide rates make many immigrants uneasy about returning. Lawmakers and advocates have criticized the decision to scrap the program, calling it "unconscionable" and "a death sentence."

More than 300,000 immigrants from a dozen different countries have been granted TPS since 1990, reports McClatchy. TPS recipients can work legally, but cannot receive federal or state financial assistance. President Trump's administration has allowed protections for people from Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Liberia, and El Salvador to expire.