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New Development- The US Department of Homeland Security issues new guidance on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, and El Salvador

Our October 26, 2018 blog addressed an October 3, 2018 preliminary injunction issued by US District Edward Chen, in the case of Ramos v. Nielsen, 18-cv-01554-EMC (Northern District of California, 2018), blocking the Trump administration from terminating TPS for over 300,000 individuals from different countries.

Please note that subsequent to Judge Chen’s issuance of the preliminary injunction, TPS holders from Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, and El Salvador will not have their TPS terminated, so long as the preliminary injunction remains in effect.

As per the US Department of Homeland Security, if the injunction remains in effect until March 2019, then another notice to extend TPS-related benefits such as employment authorizations, will continue for an additional nine months.

This means that TPS beneficiaries from Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, and El Salvador may have the opportunity to remain in the US to work and continue to pursue other options for maintaining their status here until January 2020.

The US Department of Homeland Security will apparently provide for an orderly transition, if the preliminary injunction is reversed before March 2019. The orderly transition is defined as the later of 120 days after the reversal of the preliminary injunction or the previously announced termination date. Because of the calculation on the dates, the termination of the TPS status for El Salvador (September 9, 2019) and Haiti (July 22, 2019) would remain in effect.

Also, the US Department of Homeland Security is automatically extending employment authorization documents for Sudanese and Nicaraguans until April 2, 2019, which is significant, because their TPS was scheduled to end on November 2, 2018 and January 5, 2019 respectively.

Unfortunately, TPS holders are still on uncertain ground in the US, and still face real threats of deportation under the current administration, because immigration enforcement is more aggressive than it has been in recent history.

This is the time for those with TPS to consult with experienced immigration lawyers and explore their options, including:

  • Being sponsored by a qualifying relative such as US citizen or legal permanent resident parents;

  • Applying for asylum due to a legitimate fear of returning to their home countries; and

  • Applying for cancellation of removal, if the individual has ten years of continuous presence in the US prior to the service of a notice to appear, he or she has not been convicted of certain offenses, and that his or her US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse and/or children will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if denied cancellation. (While the application is pending, the applicant has a right to obtain an employment authorization document.)

This list of possible options is not exhaustive. Due to the new developments, it’s best to have a plan in place as early as possible, so that TPS holders have the time to put into place, measures to protect their interests and rights.