With the Trump administration having terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for migrants from three countries in 2017 alone, it seems to be setting its sights on six more countries with TPS protections.
TPS is granted to foreign nationals who are in the United States seeking refuge from the conditions in their home countries. As the USCIS page on TPS notes: “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS 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.”
Unsuitable conditions include civil unrest and natural disasters like major earthquakes and storms. Immigrants with TPS can stay and work in the country without fear of deportation.
After terminating the protected status for nationals from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the past year alone, the government will be terminating six (out of 10) more countries with TPS over the next 18 months. These countries include:
- El Salvador
For now, nationals from Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen may still avail of the status.
There are ongoing efforts to resist the loss of protected status for these countries, some of which have been successful. Just last month, a Boston federal judge’s ruling in a case filed on behalf of TPS beneficiaries allowed dissenters to challenge the government’s termination of the protected status.
The complainants argued that the government’s decision to end the TPS designation for these countries was unconstitutional and “impermissibly infected by invidious discrimination.” They claimed that the government specifically targeted Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras on discriminatory grounds – a conclusion deduced from President Trump’s statements on the matter, the standard Homeland Security usually follows, and the reported conditions in El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras.
The government subsequently fired back, claiming that the executive’s discretion in this area can be arbitrary and therefore cannot be challenged in court. The court found the government’s argument invalid and allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with their claims.
The State Department in 2017 warned that terminating the protected status for El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua would have unintended consequences and that doing so “could worsen efforts to combat illicit drug trade and gang violence.”
Senator Robert Menendez also pointed out that the proposed termination of TPS for these countries would endanger the U.S. citizen children of TPS beneficiaries as the countries in question are fraught with violence and unrest.
It’s estimated that more than 300,000 foreign nationals and their families presently benefit from the TPS and stand to have their lives uprooted by the termination of their respective designations.
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.