Honduras re-gains special temporary immigration status—for 20 years

With the latest extension of TPS, Hondurans will have spent more than two decades enjoying what is supposed to be temporary immigration status.


WASHINGTON, May 18, 2016 — Honduras was recently reauthorized for Temporary Protective Status (TPS), which allows nationals to work legally and receive benefits, among other services. The country has held the designation since 1998, and the latest authorization extends the status until January 2018.

TPS was first created during the George H.W. Bush Administration in 1991 for countries recovering from a natural disaster. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services web site explains, “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”

Honduras was initially put on TPS in 1998 following Hurricane Mitch. It has continued to receive the status, even though there has been no new natural disaster.

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Honduras is not the only country which has seen its TPS reauthorized so routinely that it’s no longer temporary, said Jessica Vaughan, a policy analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

“Predictably there is nothing ‘temporary’ about TPS,” wrote Mark Krikorian, also of CIS, for the National Review. “No one—not a single person—has ever been made to leave the United States because his TPS ran out. There are now maybe 300,000 or so illegals with this status, which gives them work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses and more. “

When asked to expand on why Honduras has found itself in temporary status for nearly two decades, USCIS pointed CDN to the country’s registrar which opaquely states, “The Secretary has determined that an extension is warranted because conditions in Honduras supporting its designation for TPS continue to be met.”

Nicaragua, which has enjoyed TPS status since 1999, also because of Hurricane Mitch, was also reauthorized for another TPS, according to another press release from USCIS.

Here is the country by country breakdown of estimates for TPS applications, according to the most recent statistics provided by USCIS.

Honduras: 57,000

Nicaragua: 2,550

Guinea: 990

Liberia: 2,085

Sierra Leone: 1,145

Sudan: 450

South Sudan: 50 re-reg + 25 to 150 initial = 75 to 200

Yemen: 500 to 2,000

Haiti: 50,000

Nepal: 10,000-25,000

Somalia: 270

El Salvador: 204,000

Syria: 5,000 re-reg + 5,000 initial = 10,000

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