The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced changes and/or terminations to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. As background, individuals granted TPS may lawfully remain in the U.S. and apply for employment authorization. The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent individuals from such country to return safely, such as natural disasters, armed conflict or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. TPS does not, in and of itself, lead to permanent resident (“green card”) status. Countries currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador; Haiti; Honduras; Nepal; Nicaragua; Somalia; Sudan; South Sudan; Syria; and Yemen.
On November 20, 2017, DHS announced the decision to terminate TPS for Haiti. The termination’s delayed effective date of 18 months is to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on July 22, 2019.
On November 6, 2017, DHS announced the decision to terminate TPS for Nicarauga. The termination’s delayed effective date of 12 months is to allow for an orderly transition before the designation terminates on January 5, 2019. With regard to Honduras, DHS has indicated that it will need additional information before making a determination, and as such, TPS designation for Honduras will be automatically extended for six months (for a new expiration date of July 5, 2018).
Employers should carefully note the expiry listed on any EADs used for employment and should continue to follow I-9 re-verification procedures as the EADs expire. If employees are unable to provide documentation of work authorization at the time of re-verification, action regarding the individual’s employment may need to be taken. Notably, in some cases, DHS must issue a blanket automatic extension of expiring EADs for TPS beneficiaries of a specific country to allow time for EADs with new validity dates to be issued. In such cases, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will indicate same once the Federal Register is published.
For any questions related to a specific case and potential strategies and alternatives, please feel free to reach out to us. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as additional information is available.