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By David Sperling

President Trump’s decision to terminate DACA should sound a warning to the 250,000 Central American beneficiaries with TPS.

It is very possible that Trump will phase out Temporary Protected Status for Salvadorans and Hondurans.  We should have a clearer idea in a few months, when TPS expires for Hondurans.

Hondurans have had TPS since 1999, and the current registration period ends on January 5, 2018.   For Salvadorans, who have had TPS since 2001, the current registration period expires on March 5, 2018.

Haitian beneficiaries of TPS have already been advised to “start packing” in the likely event that their program will terminate shortly. For the 60,000 Haitians who have TPS, the current period expires on January 22, 2018. 

USCIS generally announces its re-registration period 60 days prior to the expiration date.

So what should TPS beneficiaries do to prepare?

My informed guess is that Trump would support an ARDUOUS path to citizenship — possibly through a long period of conditional permanent residency —  for TPS beneficiaries who have maintained a clean record and have been paying taxes.  If he does phase out TPS, I would expect that TPS would be renewed for a final year or 18 months. .  In the same way, he punted to Congress on DACA, I believe he will do the same for TPS beneficiaries.  After all, only Congress can enact a law that provides legal permanent resident status.

After the dreamers, there is no group more deserving of permanent legal status than TPS beneficiaries.  Salvadoran and Honduran members of this class have been in quasi-legal status for more than 15 years, and often much longer. They have work authorization, pay their taxes and do not have any disqualifying criminal records.

Furthermore, most beneficiaries are the parents of children born in the United States, and thus U.S. Citizens.

There are in fact several options that are immediately available for TPS beneficiaries.

First of all, the government cannot simply deport individual with TPS is they do not have prior deportation order.

In the worst case scenario, these TPS beneficiaries would be issued a Notice to Appear and can then purse any available remedy in Immigration Court including asylum and Cancellation of Removal (“La Ley de 10 Años”). These cases generally take several years to adjudicate.

TPS beneficiaries who do not have a prior deportation order are also eligible to obtain  a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, or the sponsorship of a U.S. Citizen child who is now more than. 21 years old. However, to qualify, the TPS beneficiary must have entered the United States legally, either originally with a visa or after Advance Parole.

Some readers may be confused by news that some TPS registrants who live in other parts of the country, including California, can adjust their status without any qualifying relatives.  Residents of New York do not qualify.


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