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Dr. Delgado made her statement after the announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 2,550 Nicaraguan immigrants and delays for six months a decision for 57,000 Honduran who came to the United States under the TPS program following natural disasters in their countries.

The status was granted to Nicaraguans in the USA following Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

It has been repeatedly renewed since. "That is for Congress to ensure that TPS is not "inherently" a temporary program, but is actually temporary, as the T in its name indicates", responded Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration (FAIR).

For Rosa Cecilia Martínez, originally from El Congo, El Salvador, the elimination of the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program would be devastating.

A supporter amongst a coalition of community leaders and immigrant advocates demonstrate outside US immigration offices, calling on federal authorities to designate Ecuador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for its nationals in the aftermath of last April's 7.8 magnitude natural disaster, Wednesday June 1, 2016, in NY.

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke said the end date would provide for "an orderly transition". TPS for Haitians expires January 22, 2018, and for Salvadorans, March 9, 2018.

"I am deeply pained by and strongly disagree with the decision to phase out the Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguan nationals living in the United States", said Díaz-Balart.

Meanwhile Honduran immigrants, whose TPS was also due to expire in January 2018, have been left in limbo as a decision on their status was delayed.

Duke's announcement coincides with the start of the confirmation process for her permanent replacement, Kirstjen Nielsen. The department added that the Nicaraguan government had not requested that the programmed be extended. Nicaraguan immigrants, who have lived in the United States for almost two decades, will have 12 months to leave their homes.

By 23 November, the Department of Homeland Security will have to make a decision on whether to extend protective status for 46,000 Haitian immigrants granted TPS after the 2010 quake.

Officials did not announce a decision for TPS holders from El Salvador or Haiti.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson paved the way for TPS to be withdrawn for Central Americans and Haitians by sending a letter to DHS stating that conditions in those countries had improved to the point that people no longer needed protection.

Immigration officials regularly decide whether to renew the programme every six to 18 months for each country.

Congressional members, including Republican lawmakers, also called on the Trump administration to continue TPS.