The law allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate a foreign country for TPS. If a country is designated for TPS, then eligible nationals of the designed countries who are in the United States may be permitted to temporarily remain. While in the U.S. with TPS, an eligible beneficiary is protected from removal and may be granted employment authorization and permission to travel into and out of the U.S.
Over the past twenty or so years, a number of countries have been designated for TPS, including countries in Central America like El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, countries in Africa such as Sudan and Somalia, countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Yemen, countries in the Caribbean including Haiti and other countries which have faced devastation due to hurricanes, earthquakes, civil war, epidemics and other natural disasters. Over the years, some countries have remained designated for TPS for relatively brief time periods, others have remained designated for TPS for periods of ten years of more.For more information about TPS, click here.
In a move that has drawn criticism from some constituencies, on November 20, 2017, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security announced the Trump Administration’s decision to terminate TPS for citizens of Haiti, with the official termination to take effect on July 22, 2019. Since then, the Administration has announced the end of TPS for Nicaragua, Honduras and, most recently El Salvador. These announcements mean that tens of thousands of TPS beneficiaries will need to prepare to leave the U.S., or face deportation.
The termination of TPS has been met with controversy. On the one hand, some say that TPS is intended as an emergency humanitarian measure and should not come with the expectation of long-term or permanent residence. On the other hand, advocates recognize that, for many of the impacted TPS-designated countries, the emergencies have not ended and circumstances in these countries remain dire. In addition, after more than ten years of TPS in some cases, announcing the end of protected status means a harsh disruption to individuals and families who have put down roots in the U.S.
The Trump Administration and leadership at DHS seem determined to end TPS for tens of thousands of individuals who have established a temporary home in the U.S. Both the granting of TPS status and the termination of that status are within the authority of the Executive Branch. For individuals from Haiti, El Salvador and other countries now faced with the prospect of forced return to their ravaged countries, their only hope is that Congress will – as part of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform initiative – provide some form of relief for individuals who, by reason of their long years of residence in the U.S., have earned the possibility of legalized status in the United States.
For additional information about the Administration’s termination of TPS for El Salvador, click here. For additional information about TPS and the availability of immigration benefits for holders of TPS, contact us.