Temporary protected status (TPS) is, as the name suggests, a temporary immigration status for certain eligible foreign nationals in the United States. Those individuals who are unable, for temporary reasons (such as natural disaster or armed conflict) to return to their home country, may be granted TPS. Temporary protected status is usually designated for a given country for anywhere from six to eighteen months, but this period can be extended as appropriate, in some cases over the course of decades.
During that time, beneficiaries of the status may remain in the U.S. and may obtain work authorization. When TPS expires, beneficiaries will once again have whatever immigration status they had before TPS was granted, unless that status has expired in the interim. It is important for TPS beneficiaries to remain aware of the status of their TPS and to take whatever measures are necessary to allow them to legally remain in the United States if that is their goal.
Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, recently announced that temporary protected status will be ending for Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua
Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010. Since that time, approximately 59,000 Haitians have lived and worked in the United States under TPS. The Trump administration has determined that Haiti has made "considerable progress" and that the conditions caused by the 2010 earthquake no longer exist, which means that, under the applicable statute, TPS must be terminated.
The effective date of the termination will be delayed 18 months from the November 20, 2017 announcement, to July 22, 2019, in order to allow for an orderly transition.
Honduras and Nicaragua were originally granted TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch. The announcement that TPS would be ending for Honduras and Nicaragua came on November 6, 2017. The effective termination date of the designation for Honduras is currently July 5, 2018. It was originally set for January 5, 2018, but the need for additional information about conditions in the country. The termination of the TPS designation for Nicaragua is delayed 12 months, to January 5, 2019.
About 2,500 Nicaraguans, 57,000 Hondurans, and 59,000 Haitians in the United States are affected by this decision. For many of those people, the United States is more than just a safe place to wait for a while until they could return home—it is what they consider their home. Many of those in the country under TPS have lived and worked here for years and have little, if any, remaining connection to their home country.
The Trump administration claims that what was intended to be temporary relief has turned into a permanent benefit, and that returning migrants can spur development in their home countries. Opponents of the termination of TPS for Nicaragua, Honduras, and Haiti argue that those countries are not in a position to reintegrate the thousands of citizens who would be returning. Many individuals with TPS status had children while living in the United States. While those children are U.S. citizens and are entitled to stay in the country, their parents may not be. It is unclear what the fate of those families will be.
If you or someone you know will be affected by the termination of TPS for Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua, the prospect of returning to your home country may be difficult to face. You should not put off dealing with this concern, however, as it will not go away and waiting will only make things worse. Contact an experienced Maryland immigration attorney as soon as possible to explore your options and to make a plan of action for your future.
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