Honduran in South Florida Since 1990 Fears Return to Country After End of TPS

A man who's lived in South Florida since he was one year old said he's scared to return to his home country of Honduras after the Trump administration announced Friday that it was ending special immigration status for Hondurans who came to the United States after a devastating hurricane two decades ago.

Omar Banegas, now 29, came to the United States in 1990 and was granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in 1998. He said he doesn't want to go to a place he's never known.

"I studied to be a musician and radio broadcasting, so I pretty much did everything here," Banegas said.

Banegas is now one of nearly 60,000 Hondurans left scrambling after the Department of Homeland Security announced that they have a year and a half to leave the U.S. or obtain legal residency in other ways. The designation ends Jan. 5, 2020.

Banegas is blind and worried that life in Honduras won't offer the kind of services he's had access to all his life.

"It'll be very difficult because we don't have the opportunities that we have here. I'm attending the Latins for the Blind here in Miami and there's lot of things I know in Honduras we're not able to get," he said.

South Florida lawmakers are also disappointed about the decision.

"Congress has a responsibility to step up and put an end to the anxiety and uncertainty young immigrants brought here as children face because of these short-term executive mandates," Rep. Carlos Curbelo said in a statement.

"I hope they touch their hearts and to evaluate a lot of people who have businesses and companies, their children, they have their lives here as well so we hope that they realize and take that into consideration," Banegas said.

The Honduran Consulate in Doral says it will do everything it can to help people re-start their lives in Honduras. They've setup a tipline to answer questions at 305-269-3131 that's available 24-7.

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