Some Arizona residents who came to the United States under the Temporary Protected Status program may be sent back to their home countries even if they have been living in the country for decades and have children who are citizens. The Trump administration is phasing out these programs, and now, Hondurans who are in the United States with TPS status must either return home within the next 18 months or remain in the country as an undocumented immigrant.

The purpose of the program is to grant temporary residency for people whose countries have been devastated by civil war, hurricanes or earthquakes. The devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 lead to Hondurans being allowed to settle in the country under the program. However, since then, there have been serious issues with drug cartel and gang violence, and opponents of ending the program argue that people will be sent right back into these situations. Supporters say the country has had time to recover from the hurricane and that it has always had problems with violence and poverty.

TPS has also come to an end for people from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Center for American Progress says that the loss of the Honduran population alone will cost the U.S. more than $30 billion over a decade.

People who are in the U.S. under TPS or for other reasons and whose residency in the country is threatened or who are seeking asylum might want to contact an immigration attorney. As this situation demonstrates, U.S. immigration law is complex and changing rapidly. There might be other avenues by which a person can remain in the country. People may also want to work with an attorney if they are seeking naturalization or permanent residency since these can require complex paperwork, and errors could delay the process.