Honduran and Nicaraguan immigrants under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can now re-register to extend their stay in the United States as the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it will resume accepting TPS applications. Re-registration will be available from December 15, 2017, to February 13, 2018.
In 1999, Hurricane Mitch tore through much of Central America, causing massive flooding in Nicaragua and Honduras, whose citizens were to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Many of the hurricane’s survivors made their way to the U.S. where their circumstances merited Temporary Protected Status.
Temporary Protected Status is a temporary immigration status that can be acquired by individuals from countries the Secretary of Homeland Security determines unsafe to return to. Conditions that merit TPS include extraordinary and temporary conditions like armed conflict and, in the case of Honduras and Nicaragua, environmental disasters. TPS beneficiaries cannot be deported from the U.S. while under the status and can legally work in the country after obtaining employment authorization documents. They can even receive travel authorization.
In November of this year, Elaine Duke, former acting Secretary of Homeland Security, announced that current conditions in Nicaragua have since improved, which meant that the people who were displaced by the hurricane could now return home. Consequently, she set their TSP designation to end on January 5, 2019—a year after an earlier decision to terminate the program on January 5, 2018.
Meanwhile, Honduran TPS holders only have until July 5, 2018, to renew their status to re-register and apply for an employment authorization document to extend their status. It is unknown if the Hondurans—who are a much larger group—will receive a similar extension. The current Secretary will be using the 60 days before the July 5, 2018 deadline to evaluate the state of things in Honduras – using what they have assessed to decide whether the TPS for Hondurans should be terminated, extended, or re-designated.
TPS re-registrants who meet the February 13 deadline for status renewal will automatically receive extensions on their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) valid until July 4, 2018, allowing TPS holders to carry on with their employment while awaiting the DHS’ final say on their protected status. TPS holders have been advised to consult with qualified legal professionals regarding other immigration statuses they may qualify for or obtain.
If you, or a loved one, are under Temporary Protected Status and would like to know how these designation changes might affect you, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm and discuss your legal options. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.