The Department of Homeland Security has ended Temporary Protected Status for Nicaragua, meaning that the 2,500 Nicaraguans living in the USA under that special status have 14 months to leave the country.
The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans is part of President Donald Trump's broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from across Central America live and work in the United States, but some are protected from the threat of deportation under the TPS program.
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.
"I am deeply pained by and strongly disagree with the decision to phase out the Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguan nationals living in the United States", said Díaz-Balart.
A supporter amongst a coalition of community leaders and immigrant advocates demonstrate outside US immigration offices, calling on federal authorities to designate Ecuador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for its nationals in the aftermath of last April's 7.8 magnitude natural disaster, Wednesday June 1, 2016, in NY.
"The administration understands there are a number of individuals who have been in TPS status, potentially for 20 years, and given the lengthy period of the status here, [knows] that congressmen want to find a solution to find a more permanent status versus this 18-month to 18-month temporary fix", the senior administration official said.
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Supporters of TPS slammed the administration's decisions.
Nicaragua and Honduras were originally designated January 5, 1999, because of destruction wrought by Hurricane Mitch. She said that there is a lot uncertainty, especially for those with little options to adjust their status and get permanent residency. "My hope is they change the legislation to make this a permanent thing for all the TPS recipients".
As ThinkProgress previously reported, some Haitian parents are weighing the costs of leaving their children here in the United States if they have to return.
TPS was established by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990.
"I'm not leaving. No matter what, I'm not leaving" said Osario, who has been in the USA for 26 years, the last 19 as a TPS holder.
Congressional members, including Republican lawmakers, also called on the Trump administration to continue TPS.
While spared on Monday, Honduran TPS recipients say the extension just draws out the fear that their permits will not be renewed.
More than 5,000 Nicaraguans and about 85,000 Hondurans are beneficiaries of that program. The Trump administration will not consider them a priority for deportation, but they will be eligible for it, a DHS official told reporters Monday night.