The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has decided to put an end to the Temporary Protection Status (TPS) program for Nicaragua, thereby forcing of thousands of immigrants to return to their country of origin. The decision was announced on November 6th. Two weeks later, the DHS made a similar TPS termination announcement for Haiti, and it stands to reason that the same course of action will be taken with Honduras.
Nicaraguan nationals who are registered under the TPS program, which started in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Nicaragua, will be allowed to remain in the U.S. until January 5th, 2019. Elaine Duke, the acting DHS Secretary, acknowledged that many TPS immigrants from Nicaragua and other nations have been in the U.S. for more than a decade. Therefore, it stands to reason that many of these individuals have likely planted firm roots during their permanence. To this effect, Secretary Duke called on Members of Congress to start formulating legislation that may give those Nicaraguans a path toward permanent residence status.
Nicaraguans and other recipients of benefits under the TPS programs should not hope for the best case scenario, which would be legislative approval of a measure that allows those who have been residing in the U.S. for several years to obtain a green card.
The Trump administration has a terrible track record in terms of immigration, and thus there would likely be strong opposition to enacting a law that converts TPS recipients to permanent residents. Even though the White House has received letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicating that terminating TPS programs will have a negative economic impact, this would be unlikely to dissuade senior lawmakers and government officials to set aside their anti-immigration views.
Nicaraguans who have been granted TPS benefits should begin weighing their options to legally stay in the U.S. First of all, this is not the time to adopt a defeatist attitude. Instead, TPS program recipients should make sure their employment authorization documents and drivers licenses remain current until January 2019. Second, they should sit down with immigration attorneys and figure out whether their situations present an option to adjust their status from TPS to permanent residents. The employment permits that are current as of November 6th should be extended automatically, but it is better to be on the safe side and make a formal inquiry with a San Diego immigration law firm and ask for a review of their individual situations.
Nicaraguans who have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years under the TPS program may have started families and small businesses with payrolls. These immigrants may be able to meet certain conditions that would allow them to apply for a green card now or in the future.
If you need reliable immigration services in San Diego, CA, reach out to KS Visa Law today. From naturalization to family law, we can assist you with a wide array of immigration-related needs. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.