On Friday, May 4th, some 57,000 Hondurans in the U.S. got the bad news their brothers and sisters from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador have received in recent months.
They were told by Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, that they now have 18 months – or until January 5, 2020 – to either return to their country or remain in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants and face rounding-up deportation.
These immigrants have been living in the U.S. since 1999, when they were granted TPS because of Hurricane Mitch. They have children in this country and they have made a life here, paying taxes and contributing to the country and their communities.
But the DHS, in a statement, said: “based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial.”
“Thus, as required under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the DHS statement added.
The DHS also stated that since the last review of the Honduras’ conditions in October 2016, Honduras has made substantial progress in post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction from the 1998 Hurricane Mitch.”
But has it? According to the US’ own State Department, Americans should “reconsider” travelling to Honduras, a ‘Level 3’ nation, “due to crime.” The warning has been in place since 2012.
The U.S. Department of State has also assessed Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, as “being a CRITICAL-threat location for crime directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.”
The US’ Bureau of Diplomatic Security also claims there “are no areas in major urban cities that are deemed free of violent crime.”
It also states in its latest OSAC report, that since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Since 2010, the U.S. Embassy has recorded 52 murders of U.S. citizens; several U.S. citizens have been murdered in San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba shortly after arriving in the country. These murders may have been based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas. In 2017 and through January 2018, there were six murder cases of U.S. citizens.
This is the country that the DHS’ Secretary now claims is fine for Hondurans to return to.
The stark hypocrisy in this judgement means the Honduran community must now join their Haitian and Salvadoran brothers and sisters in taking the matter to the courts.
It is the only recourse to stop the deportation of tens of thousands of brown and black immigrants out of the U.S. back to countries where poverty and violence persists, and which cannot possibly successfully re-integrate these immigrants into their societies.
The only option now is to sue on the basis of racism. If the US’s own State Department is warning Americans to avoid travel to these countries, then how can the Trump Administration’s DHS determine these nationals should return to these nations?