(Español) Official as of Friday, March 1, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua in the United States. On Thursday, February 28, 2019, DHS filed notice of the TPS program being extended until January 2, 2020. Under the TPS program, nationals in the United States whose countries have been ravaged by natural or man-made disasters can apply for temporary work permits which essentially automatically renew every eighteen months. The idea is for those people to have an ability to work and reside in the United States while their home countries recover. Given the original unstable nature of most of the countries to being with, compounded with the disasters they suffer, many of these people have been in the United States for nearly two decades because of the instability of their home country.
During his term in office, President Trump has made attempts to end the programs by withholding renewals of designated countries but has been met with legal challenges along the way. Most recently in October, a federal judge out of California issued an order blocking the administration and DHS from ending the designation statuses of Sudan, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti. The judge’s reasoning being that the move by the administration was a “pre-determined political agenda.” This led to DHS’s decision to extend the designations for the four countries until 2020.
Immigrant right’s advocates have celebrated the news but with tempered enthusiasm. While the extension helps those from the four countries listed, there are thousands of TPS holders who will not benefit from the lawsuit, as they are not included in it. As the administration has increased their determination to end TPS, the program has gained traction on Capitol Hill and in the public eye. As such, protections for TPS holders will be included in an upcoming bill mainly aimed at protecting so-called “Dreamers” to be introduced in the House of Representatives. The fate of the bill remains to be seen, especially with the divided Congress and a President who is a moving target in terms of what he will accept to sign into law.