On November 6, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua would be terminated on January 5, 2019. She also announced that additional information was necessary to make a decision regarding TPS for Honduras. Therefore, the TPS designation for Honduras was automatically extended until July 5, 2018. An article in the Washington Post, however, indicates it is almost certain the Trump administration’s incoming Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, will terminate TPS for Honduras and El Salvador once she is confirmed in her new role. This news is very disappointing given that many people with TPS have lived legally in the United States for nearly twenty years.
While this is more bad news for the immigrant community, there is some good news for those of us living in Tennessee within the jurisdiction of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Flores, the sixth circuit decided that a TPS approval equals a lawful admission, almost as though the TPS registrant left and came back with a visa. Therefore, people with TPS can apply for permanent residence here in the United States using the adjustment of status process even if they entered the United States without inspection. This means if you entered the United States without being inspected at the border and were later granted TPS, you may have a pathway to permanent residence. The approval of TPS gives a permanent residence applicant access to the adjustment of status procedural benefit, where marriage to a U.S. citizen or a permanent offer of employment may serve as the legal basis (or hook) for a permanent residence application.
It is important to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible if you are from Honduras, El Salvador, or Nicaragua and previously have been granted TPS. You should learn about your possible pathways to permanent residence before your TPS is suspended. We are lucky to live in one of only two circuits that allows someone with TPS to apply for permanent residence using the adjustment of status process. Therefore, you should take advantage of this opportunity and contact an experienced immigration attorney today.