DHS: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Designation for El Salvador Will Terminate on September 9, 2019

by Joseph McKeown

UPDATE JANUARY 22, 2018: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under El Salvador’s designation who desire to maintain their status through the announced termination date of September 9, 2019, must re-register between January 18, 2018 and March 19, 2018.

Re-registration procedures, including renewing employment authorization, are available in the Federal Register and online at uscis.gov/tps. To re-register, applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, and applicants may submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, at the same time or separately at a later date. 

USCIS states that they will issue new EADs with a September 9, 2019 expiration date to eligible Salvadoran TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing re-registration applications, however, USCIS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on March 9, 2018. Accordingly, USCIS has automatically extended the validity of EADs issued and currently valid under the TPS designation of El Salvador for 180 days, through September 5, 2018. 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this week that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation that has allowed approximately 200,000 Salvadorians to reside in the US after earthquakes devastated their country in 2001 will be terminated as of September 19, 2019. This decision was made after the DHS secretary reviewed the "disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute.” Although the country has rebuilt after the earthquakes, violence in El Salvador and economic difficulties have caused many thousands to flee the country. “There is nothing to go back to in El Salvador,” Veronica Lagunas, a Salvadorian currently protected under TPS, told the New York Times. “The infrastructure may be better now, but the country is in no condition to receive us.”

This news comes amid the cancellation of TPS designation for Nicaragua and Haiti. DHS says the eighteen-month delay in TPS termination for El Salvador will allow for “an orderly transition” for these individuals by giving them time to either arrange their departure or seek a form of legal immigration status in the US, and that it is up to Congress to create a legislative solution. Salvadorians will be required to re-register for TPS and apply for employment authorization until this termination becomes effective on September 19, 2019.