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Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans in U.S. to End in 2019

Ending all speculation, the Secretary of Homeland Security has announced the end of temporary protected status (TPS) for approximately 200,000 Salvadorans who have been in the United States since 2001, following two earthquakes in El Salvador.

The termination will be delayed for 18 months, until September 9, 2019, to allow for “an orderly transition.” This follows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recent termination of TPS for Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. In her announcement, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said DHS conducted extensive research and outreach before coming to its decision. Among other things, the agency held community forums and met regularly with Salvadoran government officials as well as with the El Salvadorian Foreign Minister, the Ambassador to the U.S., and the President of El Salvador to determine whether the “original conditions” caused by the 2001 earthquakes still existed. They concluded that these conditions “no longer exist” and, therefore, Salvadorans in the U.S. are no longer eligible for TPS. The Secretary further noted that El Salvador is now capable of having its nationals return, as evidenced by the fact that, over the last two years, 39,000 individuals have been repatriated to El Salvador.

The 200,000 Salvadorans in TPS represent the largest group of nationals currently in the U.S. The actual number of affected persons is much larger, because the 200,000 figure does not include spouses and U.S.-citizen children. It also does not include companies that have employed these individuals who have been in the U.S. for close to 20 years. Figures indicate that the largest number of Salvadoran TPS holders live in Washington D.C., with smaller numbers living in Los Angeles, New York, and Houston. “Nearly one-third own their homes, according to a 2016 survey, and more than 60 percent have at least one child who is a U.S. citizen.”

Immigration advocates have noted that not only are these individuals fully assimilated into the U.S., but that it is not safe for anyone to return to El Salvador. The country suffers from a high rate of homicide and gang violence. They also argue the country cannot re-absorb such a large number of people. According to a Pew study, the government of El Salvador has asked that TPS be extended.

Salvadorans in TPS status will need to re-register for TPS in order to remain in the U.S. throughout the termination period. They cannot re-register until instructions are published in the Federal Register.

Haitians who learned in November 2017 that their TPS would be terminated are still awaiting instructions.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2018


About this Author

Michael H. Neifach, Jackson Lewis, Employment visa Lawyer, border security matters attorney

Michael Neifach is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is a recognized leader on immigration, visa and border security matters, and he is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Mr. Neifach has held senior positions at the White House Homeland Security Council, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He served as General Counsel at ICE from July 2007 through January 2009. Following his government service, Mr. Neifach oversaw...

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Amy L. Peck, Immigration Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Worksite Compliance Lawyer

Amy L. Peck is a Principal in the Omaha, Nebraska, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She dedicates her practice exclusively to immigration law and worksite compliance, and she is Co-Leader of the firm's Immigration practice group.

Ms. Peck is one of 21 Directors elected to serve on the 14,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Board of Governors. She currently is serving on the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council.

Ms. Peck is a member of the AILA National Verification Committee, which liaises with USCIS, ICE and OCAHO on I-9, E-verify and related worksite issues. Ms. Peck recently served on the AILA National USCIS Benefits Committee, the Interagency Committee, the Annual Conference Committee, previously chaired the AILA FOIA Liaison Committee, the AILA Comprehensive Reform Committee (2010-2011) and is a founding member of the Global Migration Action Group (2009 to present). She served as Chair of the AILA National Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) liaison committee (2008-2010). Ms. Peck also served as Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for AILA (2008-2009) and served on the Spring Conference committee (2008-2010). She was chosen as the editor of the AILA Midyear Conference materials in 2010, and past Chair of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) liaison committee (2004-2006). She is past Chair of the AILA Iowa-Nebraska chapter (2001-2003), and previously served as its treasurer (1999-2000).

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