Recently, the topic of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) has been covered in the news. If you are one of the 300,000+ immigrants who is protected by this status, you may be worried about your future in the United States.
What is the Temporary Protected Status program?
The TPS program is a temporary immigration status to the U.S., granted to eligible nationals of designated countries. It gives them temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. instead of being returned to countries that are deemed unsafe after facing natural disaster, armed conflict, or other emergency situations.
What is happening to the TPS program?
The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that some of the countries currently covered by the TPS will be removed from that protected list. On November 20th, it was confirmed by the Department of Homeland Security that Haiti will no longer be covered by TPS (and residents will have 18 months to get their affairs in order and schedule their return).
The U.S. is also ending TPS benefits for people from Sudan and Nicaragua and a decision on that the status of Honduras is expected in the summer of 2018. This means that immigrants from those three countries and possibly others currently covered by TPS, some of whom have been living in the United States for 20 years, could be subject to arrest and deportation if they remain in the country passed the TPS deadlines.
Why would some of the countries be removed from the TPS program?
According to anonymous sources in the Washington Post, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrote in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security that the conditions in some of the countries currently covered by the TPS have improved enough to warrant removing them from that protected list when they expire in January 2018 instead of renewing their status.
Who is affected by the TPS?
Approximately 325,000 immigrants from Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Nepal, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia are covered by the TPS program. Most (approximately 300,000), are from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua; the people that would be affected by this potential change include those from Haiti and those countries in Central America. Again, many of those people at risk for the change have been living in the U.S. for years. They have families and businesses which would also be affected if they are arrested and deported.
What should a (potentially) affected person do now?
Begin preparing for the worst scenario. We do not say that to alarm you. However, when it comes to immigration matters, the sooner you begin exploring your options and beginning the necessary processes, the better off you will be. You may be eligible for a visa or permanent residency. Everyone’s situation is different which is why we strongly suggest you come in for a free consultation where you can speak privately to one of our legal professionals.