On January 8, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security made the decision to end TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, for citizens of El Salvador. The termination date was delayed until September 9, 2019 for the purpose of allowing immigrants an orderly transition back to their home country. USCIS will provide updates in the future for the reregistration period for current TPS beneficiaries.
What is TPS?
TPS is short for “Temporary Protected Status”. The purpose of TPS is to protect immigrants that fear return to their home country due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.
The Department of Homeland Security May designate a country for TPS status if there is ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or based on other extraordinary and temporary conditions. El Salvador was first designated for TPS status in 2001 after the country was devastated by several earthquakes. Since that time, beneficiaries of TPS in the United States have been granted permission to stay in the United States and obtain a work permit.
What are the consequences for citizens of El Salvador that have TPS?
The decision to end TPS is devastating to citizens of El Salvador who are present in the United States. El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. According to the 2016 Human Rights Report for El Salvador, more than 1 out of 5 families report being victims of violent crimes. Some of this violence is due to the government’s inability or unwillingness to deter gang activity.
There are approximately 200,000 citizens of El Salvador currently in the United States that have been granted TPS. Under the recent decision by the Department of Homeland Security, each individual would be required to leave the United States by September 9, 2019 unless they qualify for some other type of immigration relief. If these individuals do not leave the United States by that date, they will more than likely be placed in removal proceedings and could be subject to an order of deportation.
What can citizens of El Salvador do to remain in the United States prior to the expiration of their TPS?
Individuals from El Salvador should know that they may be entitled to other immigration benefits that could help them remain in the United States. It is important for these individuals to contact a qualified immigration attorney well before their termination date for TPS. Some clients could be eligible for a green card.
Recently, in the 2017 case of Ramirez v. Brown, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that beneficiaries of TPS were eligible to adjust status despite previous inadmissibility issues. The Court held that a TPS beneficiary is deemed to be lawfully inspected and admitted into the United States even if they had illegally entered before. Before this decision, certain TPS beneficiaries would be ineligible to adjust status because of their prior illegal entry.
Therefore, citizens of El Salvador with TPS are currently eligible to adjust status to a legal permanent resident based on a family based petition, certain employment visas, and other types of immigration relief. If are a citizen of El Salvador and you currently have TPS, give Hubbs Law a call. You may be eligible for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for immigration benefits.