The six countries 300000 immigrants must return to with end of TPS program

Potential future waves of asylum seekers via irregular arrival border points (e.g., Roxham Road):

The Trump administration has been eliminating the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, which has allowed more than 300,000 people from countries hit by war and natural disasters to legally stay in the U.S. for decades.

To end TPS protections for 98 percent of those recipients, the Department of Homeland Security has claimed that conditions in those countries are now suitable for thousands of their residents to return home.

A federal judge this month ordered a temporary halt to the administration’s actions – a ruling the Justice Department is appealing – leaving TPS holders facing an uncertain future as they weigh their options.

Here’s a look at the current conditions in the six countries that have lost their TPS status, listed in order of their deadlines for immigrants to leave the U.S. All TPS populations are estimates from the Congressional Research Service.

Sudan

TPS ends: November 2, 2018

TPS first granted: 1997

Reason for TPS designation: Civil war

Estimated number of TPS recipients: 1,040

TPS was first granted to Sudan as the country was being torn apart by a decades-long civil war. When the country officially split in two in 2011, the U.S. granted TPS status to the newly-created South Sudan as well.

In the years since, deadly fighting has continued throughout South Sudan. Based on that ongoing conflict, the Trump administration announced in September that TPS status would be extended for that country.

But Sudan was cut off, with the administration arguing that armed factions are largely honoring cease-fire agreements that have been brokered in recent years. In its justification for ending TPS, the administration said armed conflict “is limited to” two southern provinces and the western province of Darfur, which rose to international prominence in the early 2000s when hundreds of thousands were killed and millions forced to flee as refugees.

The United Nations Security Council paints a more dire picture. A December report on the Darfur region found that food insecurity remains at crisis levels, human rights abuses continue, and the region is being flooded by people fleeing violence in South Sudan, with 89,000 refugees arriving in Darfur in 2017, further hindering the region’s recovery efforts.

Muna Ndulo, a law professor and director of the Institute for African Development at Cornell University, said the safety of returning Sudanese will depend on what specific corner of the country they’re from. If they go to the capital city of Khartoum or northern provinces, they should be fine.

“But if they’re from Darfur, they have nowhere to go,” Ndulo said. “The situation there is still very precarious. And my assumption would be that most of these (TPS holders) would be from that conflict area.”

Nicaragua

TPS ends: January 5, 2019

TPS first granted: 1999

Estimated number of TPS recipients: 2,550

Reason for TPS: Hurricane Mitch

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights estimates that since April, at least 322 people have been killed in the violence, and hundreds more have been arrested. The White House even issued a round of sanctions in July against three Nicaraguan officials, accusing them of human rights abuses, and suspended the sale of any U.S. vehicles or equipment “that Ortega’s security forces might misuse.”

That nationwide dysfunction has sent the country’s economy, which was meager but had been one of the most stable in the region, into a free-fall. That combination makes Nicaragua a dangerous place for anybody to return to, according to Geoff Thale, vice president of the Washington Office on Latin America.

Thale recently spoke with a group of Nicaraguan priests who have been using churches and other buildings to hide protesters who have become targets of the regime. Thale said those are the very same priests who would help returning Nicaraguans safely reintragrate into society. But now, with the country beset by so much chaos: “They’re a little busy with other things.”

Nepal

TPS ends: June 24, 2019

TPS first granted: 2015

Estimated number of TPS recipients: 8,950

Reason for TPS: Earthquake

Sitting atop the Himalayas, Nepal was rocked in 2015 by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that led to an avalanche on Mt. Everest and a major aftershock weeks later. The combination left nearly 9,000 dead and millions displaced.

The Nepalese government, with the help of more than $4 billion in international aid that has been pledged by donors, has taken many strides to rebuild the country, but conditions remain far from normal.

More than 270,000 homes have been rebuilt, but more than 800,000 are still listed as undergoing reconstruction from the quake, according to a May update from Nepal’s National Reconstruction Authority, a government task force created to oversee rebuilding.

The country has rebuilt more than 3,800 schools, about half of the agency’s target of 7,500. The country has only rebuilt 49% of its medical facilities, 21% of its security buildings, 18% of its drinking water systems, and 13% of its cultural heritage sites, which form the basis of much of the country’s tourism industry.

Prabha Deuja, president of the Virginia-based America Nepal Society, visited the region in January and said she saw construction efforts all around. But she said the country’s isolated location, and it’s limited government resources, has made it difficult to complete reconstruction and prepare Nepal for an influx of new residents.

“This is a third-world country. We have to get sand and supplies from different countries,” she said. If TPS holders had to return, “I can’t tell you what they will do. The job market, where they’re staying, it’s a really gray area.”

Haiti

TPS ends: July 22, 2019

TPS first granted: 2010

Estimated population: 46,000

Reason for TPS: Earthquake

Rioting in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince grew so intense in July that the U.S. sent in the Marines to secure U.S. interests there, according to CNN.

That unrest forced the nation’s prime minister to resign, just the latest step in a seemingly never-ending series of calamities plaguing the country.

First designated for TPS following the catastrophic earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 200,000, the country has since been hit by a cholera outbreak, an island-wide drought, and a direct hit by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 that created, in the words of the U.S. State Department, “a new humanitarian emergency.”

Frank Mora, director of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University, said all of those ensuing problems have exacerbated Haiti’s earthquake recovery and cannot be treated as separate, individual crises. “Haiti is still living with the consequences of the earthquake,” he said.

Throwing tens of thousands more Haitians back to the island right now, Mora said, will only strain the government’s limited resources and endanger the Haitians who will be returning to a country with problems at every turn. The majority live in South Florida and New York.

“They’ll have to face the constant political uncertainty, the energy crisis, the food distribution challenges that still exist,” Mora said. “If there’s any country in the Western Hemisphere where these people will be going into a near humanitarian disaster, it would be to Haiti.”

El Salvador

TPS ends: Sept. 9, 2019

TPS first granted: 1991

Estimated number of TPS recipients: 195,000

Reason for TPS: Earthquake

Using any metric, El Salvador is considered one of the most dangerous, deadly countries on the planet.

In 2016, the Central American nation was deemed the murder capital of the world with a homicide rate of 104 people per 100,000, the highest for any country in nearly 20 years, according to data from the World Bank. The homicide rate reportedly fell in 2017, but crime remains so rampant that only 12% of Salvadorans believed that drop, according to InSight Crime.

In July, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 3 Travel Warning (on a scale of 1 – 4) urging Americans to reconsider traveling to El Salvador. “Violent crime, such as murder, assault, rape, and armed robbery, is common,” the advisory read.

Yet that is where the Trump administration has decided to send the largest group of TPS recipients, nearly 200,000 of them.

Mora said the situation only becomes worse as the U.S. continues deporting gang members from the U.S. back to El Salvador, bolstering the ranks of the gangs and drug cartels that control so many aspects of day-to-day life.

“That situation is difficult for people who live in El Salvador, who’ve been living that situation day in and day out,” Mora said. “So you take someone who has lived in Miami or New York, and you’re going to throw them into that situation. No one has the tools to prepare themselves for that.”

Honduras

TPS ends: Jan. 5, 2020

TPS first granted: 1999

Estimated number of TPS recipients: 57,000

Reason for TPS: Hurricane Mitch

The homicide rate in Honduras dropped significantly in 2017, down to 42.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, the country’s lowest in a decade. But the country remains one of the most dangerous and politically unstable in the hemisphere.

The re-election of President Juan Orlando Hernandez to a second term in November led to violent protests that were met by intense government crackdowns.

Thale says the country remains in the grip of drug cartels who use kidnappings as a standard way to generate income. He said that makes any returning Honduran a “walking invitation for extortion.”

He said gangs will undoubtedly know who is returning to their neighborhoods, and will target people who are returning with cash after selling off their homes, cars, businesses and other goods before leaving the U.S. So how, Thale wondered, could anyone think that Honduras is in a position to successfully, and peacefully, welcome an influx of 57,000 people.

“No sane person thinks they can,” he said.

Source: The six countries 300000 immigrants must return to with end of TPS program

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: