"We could be separated": Immigrants, families react after Trump administration ends protected status

Trump ends protections for Honduras immigrants

MIAMI -- The Trump administration announced Friday it is ending temporary protections for immigrants from Honduras. The administration has previously terminated protections for immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Nepal, Haiti and El Salvador.

"There's a possibility in the future we could be separated," said 15-year-old Jonathan. He and his two brothers, Saul and Jeremy, are U.S. citizens whose parents could be deported. 

Their father, Jose Zometa, is one of 57,000 Hondurans whose permission to live in the U.S. after Hurricane Mitch devastated their country in 1998 was just ended by the Trump administration. 

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Zometa family. CBS News

Their mother's status was revoked last year. She fears what will happen to her boys.

"It's as if you're moving in pieces," Victoria Zometa said. "This one stays here, this one stays, there. It's horrible."

She received temporary protected status, or TPS, after an earthquake struck El Salvador in 2001.    

Currently, more than 300, 000 immigrants from 10 countries which experienced natural disasters or conflict have TPS.  The administration is now allowing the status to expire for the majority of them, including those from Haiti, Nicaragua and Nepal, arguing they've outlived their need to stay in the U.S.

But Victoria points out Honduras and El Salvador have some of the highest murder rates in the world.   

"I'm hoping for them to reach into their souls, and say, OK, you can stay," Victoria said 

Also hoping they can stay: the Florida East Coast chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. The organization sent a letter to congress saying the immigrants are a vital part of their workforce.

While some people might say there are plenty of people out there who would be willing to do these jobs, Peter Dyga said "in our experience in construction, that's not the case." 

"Our experience has been as an industry casting as broad a net as possible to try to recruit the workforce of tomorrow and so it's been a very challenging job," Dyga said. 

Those who have lost the special immigration status have 12 to 18 months to return home or find another type of legal residency. There are concerns, however, that many may simply decide to stay and live in the shadows.