Temporary protected status would allow Bahamians to work and live in the United States until it is safe enough for them to return. As CNN explained: "TPS applies to people who would face extreme hardship if forced to return to homelands devastated by armed conflict or natural disasters, therefore the protections are limited to people already in the United States."
TPS has been granted after other natural disasters , including for Haitians following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the administration. "There are thousands of Bahamian families who deserve the full unquestioning and unwavering support of the United States government during this difficult time,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said in a statement, adding This is a matter of life or death and this President is failing to lead.”
The reported development follows days of confusion as top federal officials have offered conflicting statements regarding Bahamians seeking refuge in the U.S. and the documentation they may be required to have.
On Monday, Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan had said it would be "appropriate" to extend TPS, saying that there hadn’t been “any formal grant of TPS," adding that he thinks it “would be appropriate, to have that circumstance."
Hurricane Dorian has left at least 50 people dead in the Bahamas, according to the government's official death toll on Tuesday, with the number expected to greatly increase.
An estimated 2,500 people are listed as missing in the aftermath, the government said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
TPS has allowed more than 310,000 foreigners to legally live and work in the U.S., many for more than two decades, as their countries recover from natural disasters and armed conflicts.
The Trump administration has moved to end TPS for six countries, which represent 98 percent of the TPS population, but some of those orders have been held up in court proceedings.
Contributing: Alan Gomez, USA TODAY; Deborah Berry, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Administration reportedly won't extend TPS to Bahamians after Dorian