Kathmandu, April 25

The United States Department of Homeland Security was today preparing to cancel temporary residency permits of about 9,000 immigrants from Nepal, according to US media reports.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was to give Nepalis a one-year grace period to prepare for their departure, but they would face deportation after June 24, 2019, reported The Washington Post yesterday. The DHS secretary is required to make a decision 60 days in advance of the TPS expiration date. And in Nepal’s case, the deadline falls today.

The Nepalis were granted the Temporary Protected Status — allowing them to remain in the US legally — after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated the country on April 25, 2015, killing nearly 9,000 people.

Though nearly 15,000 Nepali migrants received the TPS status after the quake, only about 9,000 remain in the country with that status, according to estimates by

the Congressional Research Service. The TPS designation was created by the Congress in 1990 to avoid sending foreigners back to nations destabilised by natural disasters, armed conflict and other catastrophes.

In a move to expel foreigners living in the United States with some form of provisional status, the Trump administration has cancelled residency permits of 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians and a smaller number of Nicaraguans and Sudanese in recent months, according to the Post.

Last week, 23 US senators had forwarded a letter to Acting Secretary of State John J Sullivan and DHS Secretary Nielsen, urging the administration to extend the TPS granted to Nepalis who were living in the US after the earthquake.

In the letter, they said: “Even today, as the country works to rebuild its infrastructure and restore housing to previous levels, the situation remains perilous. As recently as last summer, more than two-thirds of those affected were still living in temporary shelters. An extension of the TPS designation for Nepali nationals in the United States would help the Nepalese government focus limited resources on rebuilding efforts and prevent individuals from being returned to uncertain and unsafe conditions.”