TPS faces a state of limbo as expiration dates approach in the coming years, at the same time a bill awaits in the Senate that if passed, it could provide a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders.
Congress created TPS or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by bipartisan support in the Immigration Act of 1990. As of that date, TPS has granted work permits, has prevented beneficiaries from deportation and allows TPS holders to pay taxes amongst other benefits. Many countries have been granted TPS throughout the years, but as of March 2021 only 12 countries currently benefit from TPS. Each of these countries have a different expiration date based on when TPS was designated to that country. Most TPS designations expire in 2021, except for Burma, Syria and Venezuela.
Expiration dates are the following:
- El Salvador September 2021
- Haiti October 2021
- Honduras October 2021
- Nepal October 2021
- Nicaragua October 2021
- Somalia September 2021
- Sudan October 2021
- Yemen September 2021
- Burma September 2022
- South Sudan May 2022
- Syria September 2022
- Venezuela September 2022
After TPS designation ends the person automatically goes back to its prior immigration status before gaining TPS. However there are currently several lawsuits challenging the terminations of TPS. Each of them are challenged by different TPS holders in different states. According to the Department of Homeland Security website, “On Dec. 9, 2020, DHS published a Federal Register notice (FRN) announcing that beneficiaries under the TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan will retain their TPS while the preliminary injunction in Ramos remains in effect, provided their TPS is not withdrawn because of individual ineligibility. DHS will automatically extend the validity of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) through Oct. 4, 2021.”
As of now, the Biden administration has showed interest in helping TPS holders. Last month the administration granted TPS to as many 300,000 Venezuelans and about 1,600 Burmese nationals. However as of today there is nothing to ensure a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders. The House of Representatives already passed a bill called The Dream and Promise Act, if passed by the Senate, the bill can provide a pathway to citizenship to DACA and TPS holders. At the same time, government Democrats recently said TPS holders should be allowed to expedite their path to citizenship and that they should be legalized one way or another.
After 18 months, DHS is supposed to reevaluate and decide whether a given country is still in crisis and needs its TPS extended. If the given country qualifies, TPS holders are able to apply for another work permit. It is also uncertain to know what would happen to immigrants who are barely being given TPS status and their future after TPS is terminated.
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