The Mazza Law Group, P.C.
2790 W. College Ave., Suite 800
State College, PA 16801 March 10, 2016
(814) 237-6255

Immigration Temporary Protected Status Ending for Haitians

On November 20, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be ending for approximately 59,000 nationals of Haiti who entered the US following the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake on the island nation, and must either gain a different legal immigration status or leave by July 22, 2019. This follows a decision last month ending similar protections for Nicaraguan and nationals, as well as the termination of temporary protected status for citizens of Sudan (announced September 18, 2017).

These terminations raise additional questions for those impacted by immigration law and policy in the US:  Will the administration continue to terminate these programs which allow individuals to flee war, natural disasters or catastrophes?  Is there anything that can be done for individuals learning that their temporary status will be being terminated?

Because these programs are temporary, they periodically come up for renewal, and over the next two years, the Secretary of Homeland Security will be announcing decisions regarding several nations- whether the TPS should continue, or whether the individuals and their respective countries should prepare for return and reintegration.  Only time will tell as to when TPS will end for foreign nationals of Honduras, El Salvador, Nepal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Many of those who have benefitted from temporary protected status have gone to college, been employed, had children (who are American citizens) and have otherwise become part of the communities in which they live in the US.  What should TPS beneficiaries, their employers and families do upon learning that the status will be terminated?  From the recent decisions, it appears that a period of orderly transition is being allowed, during which the foreign national will be able to live and work in the US.  If they wish to remain, there may be forms of relief through family, employment, or student status.  An immigration attorney can review their specific circumstances and provide advice regarding whether they have an option to adjust status and seek a more permanent immigration benefit.