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How ending their temporary protected status will impact Hondurans in the U.S.

Nearly 57,000 Hondurans in the U.S. have 18 months to either return to their country or remain in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. On Friday, the Trump administration announced its decision to phase out the temporary protected status granted to Hondurans in 1999 in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. USA Today’s Alan Gomez joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    The Trump administration is phasing out a special immigration program announcing an end to temporary protected status for 57,000 Hondurans yesterday. The Hondurans will have until January of 2020 to return home or remain in the United States as undocumented immigrants. Most arrived after Hurricane Mitch struck Central America in 1999. Many now have businesses families and children who are U.S. citizens. For more on what's happening to this long running program and to the hundreds of thousands of people affected we turn to USA Today reporter Alan Gomez who joins us from Miami. So put this in perspective this is just the latest country that's been on the list and actions have been taken against them. How much of the population of people with TPSAC is now represent?

  • ALAN GOMEZ:

    Yeah this just represents the like you said the latest that they've been methodically going country by country eliminating TPS for for these people that had it was about a total of about 317,000 people from ten different countries that are in TPS. They've now cut it for 98 percent of that population. The most significant was El Salvador they had one 197,000 who had CPS about 46,000 Haitians these 57,000 Hondurans. And so they're pretty much winding down the entire program.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    What about the children that are U.S. citizens here. What kinds of ripple effects in terms of population are we seeing? You said 317,000 had the TPS protections but then now there are entire families with some of those people.

  • ALAN GOMEZ:

    Yeah and that's one of the most agonizing parts of this for the people who are going to be faced with this decision. There is about 197,000 Salvadorans who are in the program. They've had about 190,000 U.S. born children. So they're citizens. Same with Hondurans about 57000 of those are in the program. They've had about 53,000 children in the United States. And so each of them are going to have to make a decision do I go back to my home country that has gripped by violence and take my son or daughter who may or may not have ever gone to that country and may or may not speak Spanish or do I leave go back and leave my child behind the United States, or do I stay in the United States become an undocumented immigrant risk deportation, and kind of put my family through that stress.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Well speaking of the conditions in those countries that they're going back to. We saw a lot of headlines over the past couple of weeks about the caravan that has been moving north and is now stalled at the border. These are people that are seeking asylum from some of these countries because it's not safe for them to be alive.

  • ALAN GOMEZ:

    Yeah and that's sort of a really difficult part of this. I mean El Salvador, like Honduras it was originally granted CPS because of Hurricane Mitch but in the ensuing two decades that country has been besieged by drug cartel violence by gang violence. It ranks as one of the most dangerous in the world. El Salvador has the highest murder rate. Or had it at least a couple of years ago still incredibly difficult place. The U.S. State Department has travel warnings in place for those two countries because of how dangerous because of the risk of kidnappings of extortion of things like that. And so now we're expected to send back tens of thousands of people to those countries at a time when things are so bad that people are fleeing those countries to try to come to the United States to claim asylum. So that's sort of it just shows just how complicated this is and how tough that decision is going to be for these folks.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right Alan Gomez of USA Today joining us from Miami thanks so much.

  • ALAN GOMEZ:

    Thank you.

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