Today, El Salvador joins the growing list of countries tapped to lose TPS designation. There are currently ten countries granted TPS, but Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone have all been advised that their designations will also be ending. Honduras will be reviewed and may suffer a similar fate by mid-2018.
For nationals of countries affected by natural disasters, armed conflict, or other emergencies, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides protection from removal (deportation) and work authorization. Though the status does not grant the benefits of a green card, some countries have been redesignated for more than a decade. This ongoing authorization has created a class of people with strong ties to the US, including those with US-born children, homes, and small business ownership.
The Secretary of Homeland Security makes periodic reviews of which country merits the designation and can renew the status for 6, 12 or 18 month periods. There is no limit to the number of extensions a country can receive.
El Salvador has the highest number of current enrollees in the program. The termination is expected to directly impact 200,000 people and their 190,000 U.S. citizen children. El Salvadorans sought refuge in the United States after two devasting earthquakes in 2001. El Salvadoran officials have advised that their country is in no shape to receive such an influx of people, citing drought, poverty, and gang violence as ongoing barriers to their resettlement.
Anyone currently granted TPS is encouraged to promptly consult with an Ellis Porter attorney. Green cards may be available here in the Sixth Circuit if the applicant has an immediate relative or employment-based sponsor, even when the person entered the country illegally (EWI). This option may exist regardless of the country of designation and regardless of whether that designation is slated for termination.