For Rosa Cecilia Martínez, originally from El Congo, El Salvador, the elimination of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program would be devastating. "They are hardworking individuals who have substantial roots in this country and have made contributions to our society and local economies".
Thousands of Nicaraguans and tens of thousands of Hondurans have been living in the U.S. for nearly 20 years thanks to the TPS programme.
"Every 16 hours there is a woman killed in Honduras", said Oscar Chacón from the Alianza Américas, stating the country remains one of the most unsafe places in the world.
Some advocates on the call expressed concern that ending TPS would pose a threat to national security because the countries in question were ill-prepared to accept tens of thousands of returnees.
Officials did not announce a decision for TPS holders from El Salvador or Haiti.
Central American immigrants have had TPS longer than any other group. The Post reports the decision was keenly observed by the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans (here following 2001 earthquakes) and 50,000 Haitians (2010 quake) whose own TPS designation expires in 2018; the latter group will learn their fate by November 23, reports Politico.
Immigration authorities say the TPS program was designed as a temporary humanitarian response to crises in Central America and Haiti, and it was never meant to be a path to permanent residency or USA citizenship.
Belinda Osario, a native of Honduras who works as a housekeeper at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, told reporters that living her life in six-month increments waiting for a decision on TPS was "like a torture".
McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services in the Archdiocese of Miami, said US law is meant to be implemented "with a certain degree of kindness and compassion", and that sending people to countries that are ill-prepared to welcome them would do far more harm than good. "We, the USA government, have created a situation where people have lived in this country a long time". Nicaraguan immigrants, who have lived in the United States for almost two decades, will have 12 months to leave their homes. "They have children here, and mortgages here", she said. "But it would be a huge injustice to take them back to our countries". "That will send them underground, and make them subject to all sorts of abuses, but also without being able to contribute to the economy in the way they have been". They were allowed to stay in the United States after a 2010 natural disaster devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed 200,000. "Those that entered without inspection, have no kids and didn't marry a US citizen, and never travelled, would be left with absolutely no options if it is eliminated", said Portos. "I'm not taking my family to a unsafe zone".