Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, announced on November 6, 2017, changes to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Nicaragua and Honduras.
What is TPS?
TPS is a temporary status designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security that can be granted to eligible nationals of certain countries, who are already in the United States. It serves to prevent the country’s nationals from returning to conditions in their country that will be unsafe, or in certain circumstances where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.
Nicaragua was originally designated as part of the program in 1999. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reviewed the conditions upon which the country’s designation were based and whether those substantial but temporary conditions prevented Nicaragua from adequately handling the return of their nationals.. There was also no request made by the Nicaraguan government to extend the current TPS status. Based on all available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, Acting Secretary Duke determined that those substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch no longer exist, and the current TPS designation must be terminated.
The termination of Nicaragua to the TPS program is not immediate. DHS delayed the termination date by twelve months in order to allow a transition for and TPS holders to determine other avenues of relief and alternative lawful immigration status. It will also provide time for Nicaragua to prepare for the return and reintegration of their citizens. TPS for Nicaragua will terminate on January 5, 2019.
Regarding Honduras, Acting Secretary Duke concluded that despite receiving input from various sources, additional time is necessary to obtain and properly assess supplemental information pertaining to country conditions in Honduras in order to make a TPS designation determination. Based on the lack of definitive information regarding conditions on the ground, the Acting Secretary has not made a determination at this time, thereby automatically extending the current TPS designation for Honduras for six months – through July 5, 2018
Nicaraguans and Hondurans with TPS will be required to reapply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to legally work in the United States until the end of the respective termination or extension periods.
Let an immigration lawyer in our office help you today if you have TPS or any questions regarding any changes to the policy. Please call our office to set up a consultation.