Trump administration ends immigration program protecting Central Americans from deportation

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Ms Duke said she recognised "the difficulty facing citizens of Nicaragua - and potentially citizens of other countries - who have received TPS designation for close to two decades" and called on the US Congress "to enact a permanent solution for this inherently temporary programme".

TPS for about 86,000 Hondurans was also set to expire January 5, but officials said they haven't made a decision on Honduras yet.

But on Monday the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced that the "substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch no longer exist" and that its TPS designation would therefore have to be terminated.

Immigration authorities say the TPS program was designed as a temporary humanitarian response to crises in Central America and Haiti, and it was never meant to be a path to permanent residency or USA citizenship.

Hondurans and Nicaraguans were given the protected status in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

The presidents of both Honduras and El Salvador have urged the Trump administration to extend the program, citing the contributions that TPS holders make to their economies by sending money home and the destabilizing effects of thousands of people returning.

TPS provides temporary legal status in the United States to citizens of other countries where natural disasters or civil wars have made it too risky for them to return.

Amy Shannon -senior advisor for Alianza Americas, a regional network of Latin American and Caribbean immigrant organizations involved in negotiating for the decriminalization of migration in the region- said the elimination of TPS would affect more people than the recent termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

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McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said USA law is meant to be implemented "with a certain degree of kindness and compassion", and that sending people to countries that are ill-prepared to welcome them would do far more harm than good.

"Although they were born here, we want to keep our children with us", she said.

Some advocates on the call expressed concern that ending TPS would pose a threat to national security because the countries in question were ill-prepared to accept tens of thousands of returnees. "That's unfair", she said of Homeland Security officials.

"The Trump Administration's irresponsible decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans will tear apart families and upend the lives of these hard-working individuals", Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement Monday.

Trump administration officials acknowledge TPS beneficiaries are from countries afflicted with poverty, corruption and crime. It's typically renewed every 18 months. "But it would be a huge injustice to take them back to our countries".

"My kids deserve to live in their home country", said Osorio, who works at the Walt Disney resort in Orlando.

In May, John Kelly, who was DHS secretary before becoming the White House chief of staff, extended protections for Hattians, who had been affected by the 2010 quake, for six months.

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