Nicaragua offers citizens help after US ends protected status

Nicaragua offers citizens help after US ends protected status

Nicaragua offers citizens help after US ends protected status

Managua (AFP) - Nicaragua's government said Wednesday its consulates in the United States will provide assistance for 5,300 of its citizens soon to lose temporary protection status under the termination of a US program.

The diplomatic missions in Florida, New York, Washington DC, California and Texas "are at the disposition of our compatriots" to help with their US migration status before the end of the program on January 5, 2019, the presidency said in a statement.

The US government on Monday announced it was ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program extended to Nicaraguans. The decision came as President Donald Trump's administration tries to restrict the flow of immigrants and refugees on many fronts.

Nicaragua said it was working with migrant support groups in the United States to contact its citizens and establish their plans in light of the announcement.

The program will not end for more than a year, a deadline intended to give eligible Nicaraguans time to seek alternative legal status in the US or arrange their departure.

Nicaraguans, Hondurans and Salvadorans were granted temporary protected status in the US after Hurricane Mitch slammed Central America in 1998, with renewals granted following other natural disasters. Thousands of Haitians later also received TPS following the 2010 earthquake that devastated their nation.

Most TPS migrants arrived in the United States without legal papers, but were allowed to stay and work because of instability in their home countries.

The US Department of Homeland Security was renewing TPS status for Hondurans for another six-month period, until July 2018, while it makes a final decision on whether to end the program for them, too.

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