Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it's ending Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguan immigrants, but extending the designation for Hondurans for six months.
The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans will affect approximately 2,500 people. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said Nicaraguans living in the United States under TPS will have 14 months "to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or, if necessary, arrange for their departure."
TPS status for Nicaraguans with provisional residency will end Jan. 5, 2019.
The protected immigration status was granted to some Nicaraguans in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated the Central American country. Since then, it has been extended several times by the DHS, which said Nicaragua was still dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane.
Monday, the DHS said it reviewed conditions and concluded the dire conditions created by Hurricane Mitch "no longer exist." Also, the DHS said the Nicaraguan government did not request that protected status be extended for its citizens in the United States.
Hondurans were also granted TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch, but the DHS said it needs more time to assess the post-hurricane conditions there to determine whether protected status will continue for the 57,000 Honduran citizens living in the United States under the program.
However, TPS will be extended for six months through July 5, 2018.
Other nationalities covered by the designation include about 200,000 Salvadorans, whose status is scheduled to end on March 9, 2018 -- and 50,000 Haitians, whose status is scheduled to end Jan. 22, 2018. Decisions on whether those TPS recipients will be extended are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.