TPS Extension for Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal

The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is a unique program in that it protects the masses of people who could be in grave danger if they returned to their country. Unfortunately, like border and interior enforcement, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the immigration courts, TPS has also been in focus during the four years of the Trump administration, putting the TPS recipients at risk of losing their status.

However, besides the possibility of having a friendlier government to deal with, immigrants, including TPS recipients have been hearing some good news lately.

USCIS TPS Extensions News

In an update on their official website, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a TPS automatic extension for natives and residents of El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The status of immigrants from these countries will be extended through October 4, 2021, provided the recipients remain individually eligible. The beneficiaries can also apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD), according to the notification.

Legal Battles over TPS

TPS Extension – Haiti and other South American countries

The Trump administration’s actions against TPS-based immigration has been hotly contested on the legal front. In January 2018, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (NAACP v. DHS) alleged that the November 2017 decision to remove the TPS extension for Haiti was based on racial and/or ethnic discrimination.

In March 2018, nine TPS recipients and five children of TPS holders (Ramos et al v. Nielsen) argued that DHS used a narrow interpretation of the federal law to remove TPS status for nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan. In March 2018, 10 Haitian TPS beneficiaries, the newspaper Haïti Liberté, and the Family Action Network Movement, Inc. (Saget v. Trump), argued that the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti was an arbitrary action that did not follow the procedures required by the APA.

TPS Extension – Nepal and Honduras

In February 2019, six TPS beneficiaries and two children of TPS recipients (Bhattarai et al v. Nielsen) alleged that the terminations of TPS for Honduras and Nepal violated the standards and practices of the APA, equal protection, and the Fifth Amendment. Besides these lawsuits, several others were also filed by TPS beneficiaries and immigrant rights organization across the country.

In the notice about continuation of documentation, the USCIS states that the “notice ensures DHS’s continued compliance with various court orders issued by the federal district courts in the Ramos, Bhattarai, and Saget lawsuits that require DHS to maintain the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Nepal, as well as the TPS and TPS-related documentation for eligible affected beneficiaries.”

TPS Renewal Beneficiaries by Demographics

The TPS program has helped numerous foreign nationals to remain and work in the U.S. while avoiding dangerous conditions in their country. In terms of total TPS holders, there are 411, 326 beneficiaries according a report by The Congressional Research Service.

In terms of beneficiaries by country, 247, 697 or more than half are from El Salvador, followed by 79, 415 from Honduras and 55, 338 from Haiti. Other countries with TPS benefactress include Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Rules for Extensions

It’s usually the job of the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate a country for TPS. Officially, TPS is temporary immigration given under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to eligible nationals of a TPS country or persons who don’t have a nationality but live in a designated country.

Besides obtaining EADs, recipients can also travel abroad after obtaining approval from the DHS. The only time Congress granted TPS was 30 years ago (1990) to eligible El Salvadorians, according to the Congressional Research Service.

According to the USCIS, the Secretary may designate a country for the following reasons:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

TPS offers beneficiaries protection from removal from the US and the opportunity to work and support themselves and their families back home. The extension notice is a breath of fresh air for the many TPS holders living in the country. Hopefully, the Biden administration will keep its promise and reverse the actions and attitude of the Trump administration towards legal (and illegal) immigrants.

Richard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist. He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration. He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.”

He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.

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