Dear Secretary Nielsen,
As you approach the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) expiration date for the people of Honduras, we urge the administration to take the extraordinary crisis in Honduras into account and renew its TPS designation for the maximum eighteen months.
As you know, in 1998, the people of Honduras faced a series of natural disasters that left their country devastated. Hurricane Mitch caused extensive damage that destroyed roads, bridges, and agricultural plantations vital to the economy. It claimed the lives of over 10,000 people and the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch setback the country for more than 50 years . In addition, basic social infrastructure systems such as the health, water, and sanitation services were severely damaged and have yet to recover.
Despite substantial efforts made by the United States and the international community to improve conditions in Honduras, the damage of these cataclysmic events compounded by the residual effects of disease, violence, and poverty have resulted in a stagnant recovery. Conditions simply have not sufficiently improved to safely and productively reintegrate TPS recipients in their home communities.
In fact, conditions have substantially worsened in recent months. Well-documented irregularities in Honduras' November 26, 2017 presidential election led to massive street protests, and the government responded with excessive use of force. According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Honduran security forces killed sixteen protesters. Unfortunately, the government's failure to resolve post-election crisis has only increased the instability that continues to plague the country.
Honduran TPS recipients are hardworking contributors to the American economy and do not represent a risk to public safety. Giving Honduras more time to rebuild and recover from the extraordinary events will protect the lives of vulnerable people and strengthen our local communities. We urge you to consider these factors as you make a decision in renewing TPS for Honduras and await your response.