Plan to End Temporary Protected Status Paused
Following a court order and the filing of a new lawsuit, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Trump administration have made several announcements that paused plans to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, South Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal. TPS is a temporary designation made by the federal government that allows immigrants from a country to stay and work in the United States when their home country is deemed unsafe. While each designation lasts for only six to 18 months, Vox reported,
“Because the designations have generally been renewed in the past... most of those who have TPS have been in the U.S. for decades — only to have the Trump administration declare that their home countries have recovered from the initial disaster and that the immigrants need to leave.”
What Is TPS?
Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, provides a mechanism for the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to authorize temporary immigration status for people already in the United States when it is determined that they cannot return safely to their country.
TPS can be designated for countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disasters or other extraordinary conditions. In those situations, it is often either unsafe for citizens to return or their governments cannot absorb their return. TPS is authorized for a fixed period of time and subject to renewal or termination at the end of that period of time, at the discretion of the DHS secretary.
Currently, ten countries are designated for TPS, including El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Some countries received TPS designation recently (such as Yemen in 2015) while others have had TPS designation for many years (such as Honduras, which was designated in 1999 and had been renewed until the announcment on May 4, 2018).
Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans live in the United States with TPS protection, the largest group.
When TPS Is Terminated
When TPS ends, those who had TPS status face an uncertain future in terms of their immigration status. Some people may be able to return to or reacquire the same immigration status they had before receiving TPS. Others may be eligible to acquire a new immigration status.
Individuals who entered the United States without inspection and were not eligible for other immigration benefits before becoming a TPS beneficiary will return to being undocumented when TPS is terminated and may be subject to removal, unless they are eligible for another immigration status.
Immigration advocates argue against ending TPS, saying the effects of a crisis can continue long after a natural disaster or war. But the administration argues that the protected status should cover the immediate aftermath of disasters and not extend for decades.
Deferred Enforced Departure - Liberia
Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is not a specific immigration status, but individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal. DED is at the president's discretion. DED for Liberia has been extended until March 31, 2020. Please contact your immigration attorney or schedule a meeting with the Immigration Response Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation, and whether you are eligible to seek an alternative immigration status in the United States.
More information for Liberians in the U.S. under DED is available here.