Is TPS ending? Can I still apply for TPS? Do I need to do something before my TPS expires? These are questions that have come up for the last two years.
What Is TPS?
When a country is designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Congress makes the decision to allow people from that country that are in the United States to apply to stay here. A country can be designated for TPS because of an environmental disaster or epidemic (such as the earthquake that occurred in Nepal in 2015 or the Ebola virus epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone countries in 2013), because of an ongoing armed conflict (such as the war taking place in Syria in 2012), or because of other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During President Trump’s first year in office, his administration announced plans to end TPS for many of the countries currently designated. Lawsuits have been filed to challenge this decision. On September 14, 2020, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in favor of the Trump Administration’s plan to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain countries (including the following countries: El Salvador, Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti).
There are still questions about what will happen with TPS and what this decision. Here are some answers to the most common questions asked:
I currently have TPS what does this decision mean for me?
It depends on which country you’re from.
- If you have TPS and are from El Salvador, Nicaragua, or Sudan, your work authorization is still valid until January 4, 2021, and your country’s TPS designation could be ended after that point.
- If you are from Haiti, there is a separate injunction that is currently preventing termination of TPS for Haiti. in place and is not affected by the Ninth Circuit Order. A lawsuit on the termination of TPS for Haitians is still pending.
- Announcements of the termination of TPS designations for Nepal and Honduras have been challenged in a separate lawsuit that is currently pending.
What happens to me as a TPS beneficiary when a TPS designation ends?
TPS beneficiaries return to the immigration status that was held prior to receiving TPS, unless that status has expired, or the person has successfully acquired a new immigration status. TPS beneficiaries who entered the United States without inspection and who are not eligible for any other immigration benefits will return to being undocumented at the end of a TPS designation and become subject to removal.
Does the decision from the Ninth Circuit that TPS will definitely end?
Not necessarily. The decision out of the Ninth Circuit will most likely be appealed. While any litigation is pending, the Department of Homeland Security will continue to extend the validity of TPS immigration documents in nine-month intervals.
What ultimately happens also depends on the outcome of the Presidential election in November 2020, as the Trump administration has pressed to end TPS for several countries and would likely continue this process if Trump is reelected.
If TPS ends, will I have to leave the United States immediately?
No. The agency has announced that if the government prevailed in its challenge to the injunction, there will be a wind down period of at least 120 days to allow for transition of TPS beneficiaries back to their home country to be orderly. The purpose of the wind down period was to give the beneficiaries some time to seek some other status in the United States or prepare to leave the country. Additionally, Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries have been granted and extra 365 days of TPS to repatriate after the conclusion of the TPS-related lawsuits. When the additional days would begin is not certain or if employment authorization would continue during the 365-day extension.
What should I do if I have TPS?
If you are currently a TPS beneficiary or know of someone who is, we recommend that you speak with an experienced Immigration lawyer in Houston to determine any possibilities for a change in status that would lead to permanent residency if TPS is ended. Click the orange button below to schedule a consultation with the Karam Immigration Law.