On January 8, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen M. Nielsen, announced her decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) designation for El Salvador. A press release by the Department of Homeland Security can be accessed here. This decision, which affects an estimated 200,000 Salvadorians with TPS, will take effect in eighteen (18) months, on September 9, 2019.
TPS designation of a foreign country is made by the Secretary of Homeland Security when conditions in that country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely or when the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. The temporary conditions that give rise to TPS designation are: (1) ongoing armed conflict; (2) an environmental disaster or an epidemic; or (3) other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Nationals of TPS designated countries can in turn apply to USCIS for TPS benefits, which if found eligible, means that the TPS beneficiary: (1) is not removable from the United States and cannot be detained on the basis of immigration status; (2) can obtain an employment authorization document; and (3) may be granted travel authorization. TPS is a temporary benefit, and will not lead to lawful permanent resident status nor any other immigration status, but it also does not prevent a beneficiary from applying for another nonimmigrant or immigrant status.
El Salvador received TPS designation on March 9, 2001 following a series of earthquakes. As of October 12, 2017, USCIS reports that there are 262,528 Salvadorians with TPS, but it is estimated that of that figure, only 195,000 Salvadorians still require this status as the larger figure includes individuals who have adjusted to another status, have left the U.S. or are deceased. After living and working in the U.S. for almost 17 years, these TPS beneficiaries have been given until September 9, 2019 to either adjust to another status or alternatively, to wrap up their affairs in the United States and return to El Salvador.
This decision follows the November 20, 2017 decision by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke to terminate TPS designation for Haiti. That decision, which also received an 18 month delayed effective date, will see TPS designation terminated for Haiti on July 22, 2019, and affects an estimated 46,000 Haitians.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by either of these decisions by the Secretary of Homeland Security, it is imperative that you immediately meet with an experienced immigration lawyer, as you may have other avenues of relief.
Please contact Alfredo Acin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (703) 745-1827 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your specific case and options.
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Please note that none of the information contained in this article is intended as legal advice, and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and marketing purposes only, and does not create an attorney–client or any other kind of relationship between the reader and Offit Kurman or its attorneys.
See CRS Report RS20844, Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RS20844.pdf).
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