“Oxfam American strongly denounces yesterday’s decision by Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Dukes decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 2,500 Nicaraguans and for leaving Honduran TPS holders in punishing limbo for an additional six months.
"Ending TPS for Nicaraguans who have lived legally in this country for decades will tear families apart, forcing them to live here illegally or move back to an unfamiliar country. Oxfam is calling on DHS to extend TPS for all TPS holders and urging Congress to pass legislation granting legal permanent residence status for all TPS holders,” said Victoria Gass, Oxfam America’s Senior Policy Advisor for Central America.
The Department of Homeland Security decided to end Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans in the US, claiming that the unsafe conditions that existed after the 1998 Hurricane Mitch no longer exist and Nicaraguans can safely return to their country. On Honduras, Secretary Duke concluded she needed additional information to determine whether conditions exist for Hondurans with TPS to be able to return, despite receiving input from a broad spectrum of sources, including the former US Ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, who requested an extension because of deplorable and violent conditions in Honduras. While a momentary reprieve for Hondurans, the DHS has stated clearly that it is still possible that the TPS designation for Honduras will be terminated in July.
“Oxfam believes that social and economic conditions in each country do not exist to permit safe return, and ending TPS will force people into the shadows or back to unsafe conditions. We also believe that it is in the national security and economic interest of the United States to extend TPS and is consistent with US foreign policy goals in the region,” continued Ms. Gass.
Oxfam does not support the lifting of TPS from any of the 10 countries that currently enjoy that status. All 10 countries are still facing tremendous natural and or manmade disasters that make return untenable. Oxfam urges Congress to pass legislation that puts TPS holders on a permanent road towards citizenship.