Immigrant rights groups and labor unions pledged to support Honduran immigrants on Friday after the United States said it will end temporary protections for them on January 5, 2020, leaving potentially 57,000 people vulnerable to deportation.
It is the latest in a series of decisions by President Donald Trump to shut down temporary protected status (TPS) granted to immigrants after natural disasters or violent conflicts that would prevent them from safely returning to their home countries.
The government of Honduras said on Friday that it "profoundly regrets the cancellation of the program" and pledged free legal and consular support for Hondurans living in the United States.
Marlon Tabora, the Honduras ambassador to the United States, said the conditions did not exist in the Central American country to deal with the repatriation of tens of thousands of people.
After El Salvador, Hondurans are the second largest nationality with TPS to lose their status, which was granted to the country in 1999 following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch.
The government said it had conducted a review and found "conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved".
The 18-month timeline to end the program would allow "individuals with TPS to arrange for their departure or to seek an alternative lawful immigration," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.