By: Angelita Chavez-Halaka
On January 8, 2018, the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the U.S. government’s decision to terminate the TPS designation for El Salvador. It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Salvadorians who are currently on TPS status in the U.S. could be will be impacted alone.
What is TPS?
TPS is a temporary form of relief for individuals from certain countries designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during times of extraordinary and temporary conditions such as armed conflict or environmental disasters.
Congress gives the Attorney General (AG) the authority to provide TPS to individuals from these designated countries for 6 to 18 months. TPS provides employment authorization and temporary lawful presence for the TPS holder. TPS can be extended by DHS, and it has, for a number of different countries since 1990. Due to these extensions, many TPS holders have resided in the United States for over 15 years.
This decision follows recent decisions by DHS to end TPS for other designated countries. Previously in November 2017, DHS had announced its decision to terminate TPS for Haiti and Nicaragua
What happens Next?
Termination of the TPS program for Salvadorians will be delayed for 18 months before it becomes final on Sept. 9, 2019.
What are the alternatives forms of relief available to those with expiring TPS?
Barring congressional action, individuals with TPS may still be eligible for alternative forms of immigration relief.
Possible Adjustment of Status
- At least two federal court circuits (Ninth and Third) have reviewed cases and held that in certain scenarios, Adjustment of Status is possible for TPS holders. Individuals with TPS living in these circuits may be able to adjust their status to obtain legal permanent residence if they have a visa immediately available, such as a US citizen parent or spouse and do not have any other inadmissibility issues.
Cancellation of Removal
- Individuals with TPS facing removal proceedings may be eligible to see Cancellation of Removal, which would grant legal permanent residence if they meet certain eligibility criteria such as continuous presence and hardship to their immediate United States citizen relatives. An analysis should be done on the applicant’s length of time in the U.S. since time on TPS status does not count as physical presence.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- U-Visa Victim of crimes (statutorily defined)
- T-Visa – Victims of Trafficking
- VAWA Cancellation of Removal
- Battered spouses of United States citizens or legal permanent residents
Asylum & Withholding of Removal
- Must show persecution of account of either race, religion, particular social group, or political opinion
We encourage individuals to always seek the opinion of a legal professional before they apply for any of these, or other alternative forms of immigration relief.
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- AILA Doc. No. 18018061 (Dated January 8, 2018)