What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is a designation by the Department of Homeland Security that a country receives if conditions in the country are deemed dangerous enough that an individual from that country, currently residing in the United States, would not be able to return safely, or if the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals from the United States. This can include situations such as national disasters, disease outbreaks, or civil unrest.
What immigration laws apply to TPS designees?
Foreign nationals under TPS designation are not removable from the United States. They can obtain employment and travel authorization.
What countries’ nationals currently qualify for TPS?
Currently, the following countries are designated for TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. There are an estimated 325,000 people qualified for TPS currently living in the United States. That includes roughly 2,500 Nicaraguans and 57,000 Hondurans, the countries whose TPS designations were up for review this month.
What changes has the Trump administration made to TPS?
On November 6, Acting Secretary of DHS Elaine Duke announced that Nicaragua’s TPS designation was to be terminated on a 12-month delay, and TPS designation for Honduras is still under review, with a postponement on a decision until July 5, 2018.
According to DHS’s memo, Nicaraguan nationals are free to seek legal immigration status in the United States if they qualify (by applying for nonimmigrant status, filing for an adjustment of status, or applying for another immigrant benefit for which the individual is eligible), or they must leave the United States. It explains that the decision on Nicaragua was based on a review of the conditions upon which the designation was based at the time of TPS’s creation in 1990, and the fact that Nicaragua did not request an extension of TPS for their nationals in the United States.
Acting Secretary Duke also called on Congress to find a permanent solution for “this inherently temporary program.” Prior to this most recent memo, the administration announced an end to TPS designation for Sudan, with an expiration date in November 2018.