At the end of last year, the Department of Homeland Security published a Federal Register notice establishing an automatic nine-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and work authorization benefits for TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The previous TPS and work authorization period was set to expire on January 4, 2021. The notice extends TPS status and work authorization based on that status through Oct. 4, 2021.
TPS allows foreign nationals to temporarily stay in the United States. Country designations are based on potentially hazardous conditions in their home countries such as armed conflict, environmental disasters, famine, or an epidemic. During designated periods of temporary protected status, beneficiaries are not removable from the United States, are eligible for an employment authorization document, and may be granted travel authorization. Additionally, in certain parts of the United States, those granted TPS are considered to have been admitted lawfully and may file for permanent residency if they have a basis to do so.
While the government has moved to terminate TPS designations for certain countries, a preliminary injunction in the class action lawsuit Ramos v. Nelson has kept the decision at bay for beneficiaries from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. TPS remains valid while the Ramos preliminary injunction is in place. A separate lawsuit, Bhattarai v. Nielsen, challenged the TPS terminations for Honduras and Nepal. Since this case was brought before the same federal district court as the Ramos litigation, the cases have been linked together. The Ramos injunction is currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If the preliminary injunction is still in place on Oct. 4, 2021, then it is anticipated DHS will issue another automatic extension for an additional nine months.
In addition to being part of the Ramos lawsuit, TPS beneficiaries from Haiti challenged termination in a lawsuit filed in federal district court in New York in Saget v. Trump. The court in Saget also issued a nationwide injunction on April 11, 2019 temporarily preventing DHS from enforcing the end of TPS for Haitians. The government appealed this injunction to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; however, this court has not issued a decision in the matter.
If the preliminary injunctions are overturned, TPS beneficiaries should be aware of the following timelines for termination:
El Salvador: Termination will not take effect until 365 days from the issuance of any appellate mandate to the district court.
Haiti: Termination is presently halted by both the Ramos and Saget litigation. If both courts rule in favor of the government, termination will take effect no earlier than 120 from the issuance of the later of the two appellate mandates to the district court.
Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan: Termination of TPS will take effect no later than 120 days from the issuance of any appellate mandate to the district court.
If you are a TPS holder with questions regarding the extensions or the lawsuits currently in place, we are here to help. Contact our offices to schedule an appointment to discuss your eligibility for continued status and potential options for other more immigration benefits.
LAUREN M. FLORES
ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY – ORANGE
Lauren M. Flores is an associate attorney at Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC. She is admitted to the Utah State Bar. She is a native of Compton, CA and a proud daughter of an immigrant father. Her primary and secondary education took place in the neighborhoods of Huntington Park, South Central, and Boyle Heights—she has a special affinity for these communities. She graduated from Brigham Young University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with Minors in Spanish, Editing, and International Development.
Ms. Flores received her Juris Doctor from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. She also earned a Masters in Public Administration during her time there. During her time in law school, she served as an associate editor, lead editor, and finally executive editor for the Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal. She is passionate about education and furthering the opportunities for inner city youth to have access to higher education.
Before joining Wilner & O’Reilly, Ms. Flores was a law clerk for the Utah Attorney General’s Office – Education Division. She also worked at the BYU Community Legal Clinic where she handled, family-based, asylum, and other immigration cases for indigent clients. One of her most memorable experiences from law school was traveling to the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX where she helped women and children detained there to prepare for their asylum credible fear interviews.
In her free time, Lauren enjoys going to the movies with her family, exploring the great outdoors, learning all she can about her Mexican-American heritage, and taking the occasional trip to Disneyland. She has a bucket list item to visit every country in Latin America. She currently resides in Bellflower, California with her family.