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US ends special refugee program for Central America youth

Rony Ponthieux, right, hugs his daughter Ronyde Christina Ponthieux, 10, after they both spoke in favor of renewing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Central America and Haiti now living in the United States, during a news conference Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Miami. Ponthieux, is living is the U.S. under TPS since coming to this country from Haiti 18 years ago. The Department of Homeland Security is expected to rule soon on whether or not to renew the protected status. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

WASHINGTON — The United States said it will no longer take applications for a special refugee program for Central American children.

The program was established in 2014 by the Obama administration amid a flood of children attempting the dangerous journey from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, fleeing violence and other threats.

Parents legally in the U.S. could start the process for their children and some other relatives, who were then screened while still in their country of origin.

The State Department said Thursday is the deadline to apply. People from those countries seeking refugee status may still be eligible, but must use the normal refugee screening process.

The deadline comes the same week the Trump administration announced it was ending “temporary protected status” that allowed some Nicaraguans to live in the U.S.

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