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Homeland Security Announces Temporary TPS Extension for Four Countries

door-1089560_640-300x200The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced in the Federal Register that it will temporarily honor and extend the validity of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for migrants and asylum seekers from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

Homeland Security had previously announced terminating the TPS status designation for the four countries on separate dates in 2019. This move, however, was challenged in court in the case Ramos v. Nielsen, which resulted in an order by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granting a preliminary injunction on terminating the designations.

In compliance with U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen’s order to maintain the “status quo” for TPS beneficiaries, DHS was compelled to temporarily extend the validity of TPS designation for the four countries through April 2, 2019. Furthermore, DHS has also temporarily extended employment authorization privileges for TPS beneficiaries from Sudan and Nicaragua.

In justifying his decision, Judge Chen argued that without injunctive relief, TPS beneficiaries and their children would undoubtedly suffer from irreparable harm and extreme hardship should they be forced to return to their home countries, which continue to experience civil unrest and violence. It’s worth noting that many of the TPS beneficiaries, who entered the country as children, practically grew up in the United States and consider it their only home.

Judge Chen also gave Homeland Security a 15-day grace period to come up with a solution to ensure that TPS beneficiaries that would have been affected by the termination—at least 300,000 according to government figures—would keep their employment authorization and lawful status until Ramos v. Nielsen is resolved.

As such, DHS has extended the validity of employment authorization documents (EAD) for the TPS beneficiaries in question. This includes Forms I-94 (Arrival/Departure Records) and Forms I-797 (Notice of Action) for Sudanese and Nicaraguan beneficiaries through April 2, 2019. Individuals with TPS designation from these countries are allowed to maintain their authorization without filing for an extension for as long as they reregistered for TPS during the reregistration period.

Those who wish to apply for a new EAD before the April 2, 2019 deadline may do so, provided they can submit a Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and pay the appropriate fee. If not, TPS beneficiaries have been instructed to show their employers a copy of the DHS announcement on the Federal Register to affirm that they may, in fact, continue being legally employed.

Should Ramos V. Nielsen fail to come to a conclusion by March 3, 2019, DHS is expected to release another notice to further extend TPS-related documentation for the four countries by another nine months.

If you, or a loved one, are under Temporary Protected Status and would like to know how this latest ruling will affect you and your employment status, talk to the immigration law experts of the Lyttle Law Firm to discuss your rights. Call our offices today at (512) 215.5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.