Trump Ends Program Protecting Central American Immigrants In U.S.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Immigrants from central american countries are worried they could be forced out of the United States.  On Monday the Trump Administration announced the end of a program that grants temporary protected status to people from Nicaragua.

Sonia Paz worries she and her two adult daughters will soon have to make a life or death choice. Go back to Honduras and leave her seven American grandchildren behind or take them and risk they could be kidnapped for ransom in Honduras.

“The gangs are going to think we have money,” Paz said. “We don’t have money.”

For 19 years the nanny and her daughters have been living and working legally in L.A. benefiting from Temporary Protected Status or TPS.

The U.S. government granted it to immigrants from countries devastated by civil war or natural disaster.  However, the Trump Administration announced those conditions no longer exist in Nicaragua and ended TPS for about 5,000 immigrants. It hinted at doing the same for 86,000 Hondurans next year and the fate of 200,000 Salvadorans is now also uncertain.

“The conditions in these countries have not changed,” labor leader Maria Elena Durazo said. “Anyone here ought to go to one of those countries and see for yourself.”

Many are now wondering what L.A.’s central communities will be like in a few years.

But the Trump Administration says it’s trying to ease the transition, giving Nicaraguans until January 2019 to make arrangements or apply for new visas.  But others like Paz say their future is uncertain in the country they now call home.

“I’m going to fight it, with my whole strong body. This is my country.” Paz said.

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