The Ninth Circuit has upheld President Donald Trump’s decision to take away legal protections for 300,000 TPS beneficiaries, despite having put down roots in the US over decades.
Citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan have been able to stay in the US through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian protection offered to citizens of countries experiencing natural disasters or armed conflict that allows them to legally live and work in the US. The Trump administration tried to end TPS for these countries starting in 2017.
In 2018, a preliminary injunction was issued by the federal district court, however, yesterday’s decision by a three-judge panel of the appeals court lifted the injunction. This means that the TPS beneficiaries from the affected countries could be subject to removal. However, these TPS beneficiaries will not see an immediate impact to their status or work authorization. The status of TPS benefits for the four countries is as follows:
El Salvador: TPS benefits for Salvadoran grantees are set to terminate 365 days from yesterday’s decision (September 14, 2020), plus additional time for the plaintiff-appellees to seek additional court review.
Nicaragua and Sudan: TPS benefits will remain in place for 120 days from yesterday’s decision (September 14, 2020), plus additional time for the plaintiff-appellees to seek additional court review.
Haiti: TPS benefits for Haiti will remain in place until further notice, pursuant to an injunction issued by a New York federal district court in a separate case.
Affected TPS beneficiaries with TPS work authorization can continue to work in the near term. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to issue instructions regarding implementation of the termination, including the validity of TPS employment authorization documents, which are currently valid for these countries until January 4, 2021.
DHS is expected to announce next steps in the TPS terminations, which have been a longstanding priority of the Trump Administration. Meanwhile, bills have been introduced in Congress to preserve the TPS program. Former Vice President Joe Biden has said that he intends to retain the program if he is elected president in November.
Murray Osorio PLLC is closely monitoring the status of TPS and will provide additional updates as developments occur.