According to the State Department, an estimated one million Hondurans reside in the United States, approximately 600,000 of whom are believed to be undocumented. Getting a complete and accurate count of Hondurans in the 2020 Census provides them with an opportunity to shape their future.
Hondurans are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Honduran origin; this includes immigrants from Honduras and those who trace their family ancestry to Honduras. Hondurans are the eighth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 2% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2017. Since 2000, the Honduran-origin population has increased 296%, growing from 237,000 to 940,000 over the period. At the same time, the Honduran foreign-born population living in the U.S. grew by 215%, from 184,000 in 2000 to 579,000 in 2017.
The numbers of Hondurans immigrating to the United States before 1930 was small, and even during the decade of the 1930’s, only 679 Hondurans entered the country legally. The numbers of immigrants remained low into the 1960’s, when a significant increase began. During that decade, 15,078 Hondurans were granted legal permanent resident status in the United States. By the last year of the twentieth century, an average of more than 7,100 new immigrants per year were coming from Honduras. The increase was due to the first immigration reform, known as the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which made significant changes to U.S. immigration policy by sweeping away a long-standing national origins quota system that favored immigrants from Europe and replacing it with one that emphasized family reunification and skilled immigrants.
Many of the most recent Honduran immigrants to enter the United States legally have been granted temporary protected status because of the devastation in Central America left by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. That status was extended several times, including an extension through January 4, 2021; it grants work authorization and protection from deportation but does not assure permanent residency. As many as 80,000 Hondurans came to the United States under temporary protected status.
Beginning on October 12, 2018, a migrant caravan was formed in San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras. It originally numbered fewer than 200 people — in line with most past caravans. But as word spread, the mobilization quickly grew. By the time the group had crossed the border into Guatemala, its members traveling by foot and vehicle, it had ballooned to more than 1,000. On January 22, 2020, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued the following statement regarding the migrant caravan at the Guatemala-Mexico border. “Being part of large group, like a caravan, provides no special treatment or benefits to those who participate. Should any members of the caravan reach the U.S-Mexico border, they will be processed accordingly and quickly removed, returned or repatriated.”
There is no doubt that over one million Hondurans reside in the United States. Everyone living in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) is required by law to be counted in the 2020 Census. Getting a complete and accurate census count is critically important. Each home will receive an invitation to respond to a short questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.
Census results have an impact on planning and funding for health clinics and highways, fire departments and disaster response, education programs such as Head Start and college tuition assistance, and so much more.
Don’t let misinformation keep your friends and family members from responding. Everyone counts. The 2020 Census counts everyone living in the country, including non-citizens.
The 2020 Census is more than a population count. Getting a complete and accurate count of the over one million Hondurans in the 2020 Census provides them with an opportunity to shape the future of their community in the United States of America.