There are over 200,000 El Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States who have established deep family, community and employment ties who will soon lose their lawful immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the termination designation for El Salvador on January 8, 2018.
TPS is a temporary form of relief available to those stranded away from their countries who cannot return due to national disaster, civil war, or other unsafe conditions in the country that are likely to be temporary in nature. If granted TPS, the immigrant is eligible to work legally in the U.S. and maintain legal status in the U.S.
TPS for El Salvador was first designated on March 9, 2001, after a horrific series of earthquakes left over a thousand people dead, and over 1.3 million people displaced. In the years since the initial disaster subsequent extensions have been based on further natural disasters, extreme levels of gang violence and other humanitarian conditions which made conditions in El Salvador unstable.
Under the DHS’ announcement, TPS holders from El Salvador now have until September 9, 2019 to find alternative immigration options or depart the United States. With the termination of TPS for El Salvador, if these individuals are not able to maintain their lawful presence and employment authorization in the United States, the impact to their families, communities and the economy will be severe.
The termination will not go into effect until September 9, 2019. To maintain TPS status until the 2019 termination date, current TPS holders will need to timely re-register and apply for new employment authorization documents (EAD). TPS holders should monitor the USCIS website for instructions on when to reapply as those details have yet to be announced. https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-el-salvador
The termination of TPS for El Salvador follows in the wake of termination of TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti. In the coming year TPS designations for Syria, Nepal, Honduras, Yemen and Somalia are all set to expire. It remains to be seen whether the DHS will continue to strip this critical protection from law-abiding citizens whose countries are still facing grave and dire conditions.
The question remains whether Congress will step in and pass long-overdue legislation that will provide a permanent solution to the tens of thousands of TPS holders who have been living and working lawfully in the United States for years – even decades. As the debate on DACA or the “Dreamers” continues to rage, it is clear that immigration remains a contentious political issue and the chances of positive immigration reform measures passing both the House and Senate are uncertain.
With an 18-month window before the designation for El Salvador passes, TPS holders need to act now and seek legal advice regarding alternative immigration options that may be available. Many TPS holders may be eligible for other relief under the current immigration laws as many have US citizen spouses or adult children who could sponsor them for permanent residence. Some may even be able to benefit from an employer’s sponsorship. If you are a TPS recipient and have questions about your status and alternative immigration options in the United States, contact our office today at 213 – 627 – 8997 or book your appointment online today.