December 7, 2020

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) -Washington has agreed to prolong temporary migration protections for Hondurans living in the United States following two devastating hurricanes that battered their country last month, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said on Monday.

The decision came after Honduras on Friday requested that the United States extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of about 44,000 of its citizens, due to expire Jan. 4, to help deal with the impact of hurricanes Eta and Iota.

“In the United States, during the meeting with the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (Chad Wolf), they told us that the TPS that ended this January will be extended,” Hernandez said on national television.

Hernandez and Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales put the request to Wolf in Washington last week during a visit to seek aid after Eta and Iota killed 100 people and severely damaged roads, homes and crops in Honduras, the government said.

Hondurans living in the United States have had access to TPS since the accord was brokered after Hurricane Mitch wreaked havoc on the impoverished Central American country in 1998.

They are among more than 1 million Hondurans living legally and illegally in the United States who send about $5 billion a year back home, a major source of economic support for Honduras.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; writing by David Alire Garcia and Cassandra Garrison; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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