Immigrant Rights Advocates Denounce Trump for “Shameful and Cruel” End to Protection for Hondurans

More than 50,000 people will be “condemned to misery,” according to one immigrant rights advocate, following the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status (TPS) for Hondurans who arrived in the US after fleeing their hurricane-ravaged country in 1999.

“The Trump administration is turning its back on thousands of families who arrived from Honduras seeking safety,” said Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, an advocacy director at Amnesty International USA. “Many families, including children who are US citizens, could risk threats, kidnapping, gender-based violence, or even death if sent to Honduras. It is heartless to offer safety to people seeking protection only to take it away and force them to return to a place where the justice system can’t deliver justice.”

While Honduras is no longer recovering from Hurricane Mitch, which forced 57,000 people to flee to the US, the country is one of the world’s most violent, with gang warfare an ongoing occurrence and massive deadly political unrest following the last presidential election.

Following a US-backed military coup in 2009, in which the party of current president Juan Orlando Hernandez forcibly took power, thousands of Hondurans have fled the country, including many of the asylum-seekers who traveled through Mexico to the US border in recent weeks, arriving this week.

“When individuals often feel they don’t have a choice but to flee their beautiful countries, it’s because they have lost all hope,” Martin Pineda, an organizer with Carecen, said in a statement. “It is no coincidence that 80 percent of the Central American Refugee Caravan consists of Hondurans, particularly mothers, children, and members of the LGBTQI communities who are seeking their legal right of asylum.”

Now Hondurans who have lived, worked, and raised families in the US for nearly two decades will have less than two years to leave the country or face deportation.

Hondurans are the second largest group, after Salvadoreans, who have had their TPS protection revoked by the US. About 200,000 people who had come to the country from El Salvador were told earlier this year that they had a matter of months to leave the country.

As CNN reports, the decision to revoke TPS for Hondurans “brings the total number of immigrants for whom the administration has decided to end temporary protected status in the last year to more than 425,000, many who have lived in the US legally for decades, according to numbers from US Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

“There is little doubt that the White House has been driving these TPS decisions based on ideology, not based upon what is best for our foreign policy interests and for the region,” Kevin Appleby of the Center for Migration Studies told the Washington Post.