The government said it had conducted a review and found "conditions in Honduras that resulted from the hurricane have notably improved".
Mercy Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, was similarly disappointed with the decision announced May 4 by Kirstjen Nielsen, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.
According to the Center for Migration Studies, Hondurans with protected status have 53,500 American-born children; 85 percent participate in the labor force, compared with 63 percent of the overall United States population; and almost 20 percent have mortgages.
Hurricane Mitch, which hit Honduras in late 1998, was the natural disaster that led to the U.S. adding Honduras to the TPS program. He's had temporary protected status for nearly two decades, and he's built a small trucking business in Florida.
But there's another whole area where the administration can act on their desire to get rid of immigrants without congressional approval: targeting those legally in the United States under what is known as the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.
Hernández, a key US ally in the region, received critical support from the Trump administration as other global actors raised doubts over the validity of his reelection.
"There is little doubt that the White House has been driving these TPS decisions based on ideology, not based upon what is best for our foreign policy interests and for the region", said Kevin Appleby, senior director of worldwide migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank. Several groups are suing to stay in the U.S.
TPS has been extended for the 6,900 Syrians in the US who now have it, but the administration has said it will not grant that status to new applicants.
The program is still active for those from Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.More news: Real Madrid captain Ramos: Messi pressured ref at halftime
But of all these countries, Honduras is perhaps the most volatile.
MARK KRIKORIAN: The hurricane that justified it in the first place was two decades ago.
GONZALES: "To return to Honduras right now is like going to look for death", he says, "because crime is so rampant there".
In an interview with National Public Radio, Honduran immigrant Orlando Lopez said: "I'm afraid to return".
"This decision, as well as previous determinations made for El Salvador and Haiti, will undermine ongoing efforts to address the root causes of migration and violence, and in doing so, lead to more", he added. Cecilia Menjivar, professor in the sociology department at the University of Kansas, said while exact numbers are unknown, it's clear many stayed in the country when TPS was terminated.
Now President Donald Trump is ending the program, and most of these refugees have been given deadlines for when they need to be out of the country.
With the legal authorization that TPS provides, she was able to go from working in a nail salon to owning one, where she employs three people.
Curbelo, a leading Republican voice for immigration reform, touted the importance of Honduran TPS recipients, stating that the group had become essential to the region by contributing to the local economy and culture.
"There have not been concrete improvements in the security situation", Valladares said. "This is very hard".