Today's announcement by the Department of Homeland Security, that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans will be terminated, was long overdue.
Winding down TPS for Hondurans follows similar steps in recent months to end "temporary" protections for other nationalities that, in some cases, have stretched out for two decades. In doing so, the administration is restoring public confidence that the TPS program can function as intended - namely, providing short term relief to people whose nations have been disrupted by a natural disaster or a political crisis.
Twenty years is enough time for any country to return to some semblance of normalcy after a natural disaster. Normal, does not mean ideal. Honduras, like many other nations that have received TPS designation, was gripped by poverty and turmoil before it was struck by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. There is no reason to believe that these longstanding problems would be solved by another extension of TPS.
Some 86,000 Hondurans who were granted TPS accepted that designation with the full understanding that their stay in this country would be temporary. With the benefit of having lived in the United States for 20 years, these TPS beneficiaries now have the opportunity to return home and become a force for real social, economic, and political reform that can make Honduras a better country than it was before Hurricane Mitch.
Dan Stein is the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.