By Alexander G. Carl, Associate Attorney, Law Offices of Ally Bolour, APC
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status granted to nationals of specifically designates countries that are facing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Congress established TPS in the Immigration Act of 1990 with the express purpose of preventing nationals from being sent back to countries where life had become dangerous or untenable due to specific conditions. (americanimmigrationcouncil.org).
As of August 2017, an estimated 325,000 TPS beneficiaries live in the United states More than 90 percent of individuals with TPS are nationals of El Salvador, Honduras or Haiti; the remaining beneficiaries come from Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, south Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Many of these beneficiaries have lived in the U.S. for a good amount of time and therefore have strong familial ties in the U.S. They are also active members of the work force here in the U.S. working in a variety of sectors across the country. These beneficiaries make important contributions to America’s Economy and society at large.
On November 6, 2017, Elaine Duke, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, announced her decision to terminate TPS designation for Nicaragua with a delayed effective date of 12 months to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on January 5, 2019. She also determined that additional information is necessary regarding the TPS designation for Honduras, and therefore has made no determination regarding Honduras at this time. As a result, the TPS designation for Honduras will be automatically extended for 6 months form the current January 5, 2018 date of expiration to the new expiration date of July 5, 2018. (dhs.gov)
TPS for Nicaragua will terminate on January 5, 2019. Elaine Duke has stated the extension of termination date for Nicaraguans will provide time for TPS beneficiaries from Nicaragua to seek an alternative lawful immigration status in the United States, if eligible, or, if necessary, arrange for their departure.
Once TPS expires many of the beneficiaries of TPS will return to undocumented status and become subject to deportation because these individuals return to the immigration status held prior to receiving TPS – which more often than not is undocumented status. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no specific avenue for permanent status for these beneficiaries, once TPS expires, unless they qualify on another basis separate and apart from TPS
If you are on TPS status, it is strongly advised that you consult with a qualified immigration attorney to determine if you qualify for any other immigration benefits.