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The Department of Homeland Security said Monday it would end deportation protection for Nicaraguan nationals who have been in the U.S. for nearly two decades. (Photo: @UnivisionNews/Twitter)

'Cruel and Shameful': Trump Threatens Mass Deportations by Axing Protected Status for Nicaraguans

"America will not be greater or safer by sending back people who’ve made their lives here and are become part of the city's economic and social fabric."

Julia Conley, staff writer

Immigration rights advocates denounced the Trump administration's decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaraguans who have been in the United States for nearly two decades—hinting that protections for Hondurans could be eliminated as well.

United We Dream called on Congress to pass legislation extending protections from deportation to the thousands of people who are living in the U.S. under TPS.

"The decision to end TPS status for Nicaragua is part of Trump's racist drive to force millions of people of color underground, into jails and out of the country," said Adrian Reyna of United We Dream, in a statement. "Congress must pass The American Promise Act to give permanent protections to thousands of Nicaraguans and other TPS holders who consider the U.S. their home. If Congress doesn’t act, they will be complicit in the morally repulsive mass expulsion of American families who have lived in this country for nearly two decades."

About 2,500 Nicaraguans, who have been protected from deportation since Hurricane Mitch devastated their native country in 1998, will be forced to leave by January 2019 because, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Monday, the conditions caused by the storm no longer exist.

But as critics pointed out after the announcement, the long-term residents in question have been contributing to the economy, raising families, and otherwise establishing roots in the U.S. since arriving here.

Fifty-seven thousand Hondurans also covered by TPS may also face deportation; DHS did not make a determination on Monday on whether Honduran nationals will be permitted to stay in the country past 2018, automatically extending their TPS designation for at least six months.

Haitians and Salvadorans living under TPS are currently protected until January and March, respectively, but could have their status revoked as well. About 300,000 residents are nationals from the four countries combined.

The New York Immigration Coalition called DHS's announcement "cruel and shameful."

"America will not be greater or safer by sending back people who’ve made their lives here and are become part of the city's economic and social fabric," said Steven Choi, the group's executive director.

On social media, supporters of residents living under TPS spoke out against the Trump administration's decision to end the protection for thousands.


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