Trump administration ended protected status for 250,000 Salvadorans. These immigrants might be next

President Donald Trump's administration is significantly scaling back the number of immigrants granted what's known a...

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 9:20 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 9:20 PM

President Donald Trump's administration is significantly scaling back the number of immigrants granted what's known as Temporary Protected Status, which allows them to live and work legally in the US.

TPS protects these individuals from deportation, as a form of humanitarian relief for people who would face extreme hardship if they were forced to return to homelands devastated by armed conflict and natural disasters.

Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security has announced the end of TPS for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan and Nicaragua but extended it for immigrants from South Sudan. And this year, the agency will decide whether to extend TPS for five other nations: Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen and Somalia.

About 435,000 people from 10 countries have TPS, according to the latest data provided to CNN by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Some activists and experts use lower estimates, noting that official statistics likely include people who are no longer in the program because their immigration status has changed or they have left the United States.

No matter how you slice it, tens of thousands will lose TPS in the coming years, which means they could face deportation if they don't leave the United States.

Here's a closer look at the 10 countries:

TPS is ending for these countries

Sudan

Status: Ends November 2, 2018, DHS announced in September 2017. This means Sudanese under TPS will have to find a different way to stay in the US or prepare to leave.

When TPS was designated: November 1997

Number of people with TPS: About 1,000

Cause: Sudan was designated for TPS based on the "ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions." Sudan has been beset by conflicts, most notably the Darfur conflict, which began around 2003 when several rebel groups took up arms against the government in Khartoum. The situation in Sudan has improved in recent years, but concerns persist about its stability and human rights.

Why TPS was terminated: DHS' then-Acting Secretary Elaine Duke had "determined that conditions in Sudan no longer support its designation for Temporary Protected Status." The agency said nationals of Sudan could return "without posing a serious threat to their personal safety."

Nicaragua

Status: Ends January 5, 2019, DHS announced in November 2017.

When TPS was designated: January 1999

Number of people with TPS: About 5,300

Cause: Hurricane Mitch, a Category 5 storm, devastated the country in October 1998. Mitch was particularly destructive in Nicaragua and Honduras, killing about 11,000 people in Central America.

Why TPS was terminated: "It is no longer the case that Nicaragua is unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of nationals of Nicaragua," according to DHS. The agency stated that conditions affected by Hurricane Mitch have stabilized and that many of the homes destroyed by the storm have been rebuilt.

Haiti

Status: Ends July 22, 2019, DHS announced in November 2017.

When TPS was designated: January 2010

Number of people with TPS: About 58,700

Cause: A 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck in January 2010, and an estimated 220,000 to 300,000 people died. That year, DHS announced temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who were already in the US and "whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti."

Why TPS was terminated: After seven years, the DHS stated that "extraordinary but temporary conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated."

Thousands of Haitians concerned about losing TPS have crossed into Canada, to seek asylum there.

El Salvador

Status: Ends September 9, 2019, DHS announced in January 2018.

When TPS was designated: March 2001

Number of people with TPS: About 263,000

Cause: A 7.7-magnitude quake struck El Salvador in January 2001 and was the worst to hit the country in a decade. The devastation, along with two more damaging quakes the following month, spurred a decision allowing immigrants from El Salvador who'd been in the United States since mid-February 2001 to apply for TPS.

Why TPS was terminated: After nearly 17 years, the "original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist," DHS said. It added that the US government has repatriated more than 39,000 Salvadorans in the last two years, "demonstrating that the temporary inability of El Salvador to adequately return their nationals after the earthquake has been addressed."

Decisions pending in 2018

Syria

Status: Extended through March 31, 2018, DHS announced in August 2016.

When TPS was designated: March 2012

Number of people with TPS: About 6,200

Cause: Syria was designated for TPS because of the ongoing armed conflict. Since the civil war began in 2011, an estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations. The Syrian conflict broke out in 2011 with the Arab Spring uprising and rebel groups' attempts to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Why it was extended: An 18-month extension was given by the DHS in 2016, because "violent conflict and the deteriorating humanitarian crisis continue to pose significant risk throughout Syria."

Nepal

Status: Extended through June 24, 2018, DHS announced in October 2016.

When TPS was designated: June 2015

Number of people with TPS: About 13,000

Cause: TPS has protected Nepalese living in the United States since a destructive, 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the country's capital, Kathmandu. The April 2015 earthquake killed more than 8,000 people, and millions of homes cracked or collapsed.

Why it was extended: Conditions in Nepal have improved following the earthquake, DHS said in its 2016 decision to extend TPS for 18 more months. But the disaster resulted "in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions," the agency stated.

Honduras

Status: Extended through July 5, 2018, DHS announced in November 2017.

When TPS was designated: January 1999

Number of people with TPS: About 86,200

Cause: Hurricane Mitch, a Category 5 storm, devastated the country in October 1998. Mitch was particularly destructive in Nicaragua and Honduras, killing about 11,000 people in Central America.

Why it was extended: DHS postponed its decision, triggering an automatic six-month extension. Its then-acting secretary Elaine Duke had announced there was not enough information to make a formal decision.

Yemen

Status: Extended through September 3, 2018, DHS announced in January 2017.

When TPS was designated: September 2015

Number of people with TPS: About 800

Cause: A civil war broke out when Houthi rebels drove out the US-backed government, led by President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, and took over the capital, Sanaa. The crisis quickly escalated into a multi-sided war leading to airstrikes in 2015. At least 10,000 people have been killed in the war, according to the United Nations, with millions more displaced.

Why it was extended: DHS granted an 18-month extension in 2017, because of the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. It cited "continued deterioration of the conditions for civilians in Yemen" and said returning Yemeni nationals to the country would "pose a serious threat to their personal safety."

Somalia

Status: Extended through September 17, 2018, DHS announced in January 2017

When TPS was designated: September 1991

Number of people with TPS: About 500

Cause: Somalia was designated for TPS after the country descended into civil war after dictator Siad Barre's ouster in 1991. Nearing three decades of conflict, much of the country's governance structure, economic infrastructure, and institutions have been destroyed.

Why it was extended: "The security situation in Somalia remains fragile and volatile," according to DHS. The agency said Somalis couldn't safely return to the country. "Somalia continues to experience a complex protracted emergency that is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world," it stated in 2017.

Decision pending in 2019

South Sudan

Status: Extended through May 2, 2019, DHS announced in September 2017.

When TPS was designated: November 2011

Number of people with TPS: About 50

Cause: South Sudan had been designated for TPS based on "ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions." The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but remains torn by conflict.

Why it was extended: The ongoing armed conflict and the conditions have "persisted, and in some cases, deteriorated, and would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of South Sudanese nationals if they were required to return to their country," according to DHS.

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