6.10.2007

Central Americans get 'temporary' amnesty

WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- As the U.S. Congress mulls the fate of illegal immigrants, the Bush administration is granting temporary protection for 312,00 Central Americans.

Temporary amnesty has been granted for the last decade to illegal immigrants from Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador because of devastating earthquakes and hurricanes there, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security said it would extend the amnesty because conditions in those countries have not improved enough for the immigrants to return home.

Collapsed bridges have been rebuilt and flattened crops replanted, but the economies of the three largely impoverished countries rely heavily on the nearly $10 billion sent from relatives working in the United States, the Post reported.

That loss of income combined with the return of several hundred thousand jobless and homeless immigrants would further devastate the countries, their diplomats told the Post.