Court Allows Phaseout of TPS for 300K Immigrants

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer September 16, 2020
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Hispanic construction worker

​A panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration permission to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for almost 300,000 immigrants, primarily from El Salvador. The ruling eliminates deportation protections and work permits for TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan while litigation is ongoing and is expected to also affect the status of TPS holders from Honduras and Nepal, under a separate lawsuit.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide context.

Heading for Appeal

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of three judges on the California-based appellate court reversed a lower court decision that had blocked President Donald Trump's move to terminate TPS for the affected six countries. The Trump administration has argued that the affected countries in the program have recovered from the related disasters or conflicts for which TPS was initially granted, in some cases decades ago. The 9th Circuit decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(U.S. News and World Report)

Time to Wind Down

The 9th Circuit ruling doesn't mean TPS ends immediately. The Trump administration has said that the termination date for Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan will take effect no earlier than 120 days after the ruling. Immigrants from El Salvador make up the largest group of TPS recipients, with an estimated 263,000 people covered by the program, but a bilateral agreement with that country's government will allow Salvadorans an additional year to stay in the United States if the courts ultimately uphold the program's termination.

(BuzzFeed News)

Work Authorization Extended Through 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Nov. 1, 2019, that employment authorization for TPS beneficiaries will be valid through Jan. 4, 2021.

(SHRM Online)

Expiration Halted by Court Order

In October 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to halt its plans to terminate TPS for the six countries. Employees with TPS from the affected countries were able to maintain their right to work in the United States while associated lawsuits were resolved.

(SHRM Online)

TPS Explained

Congress created the TPS status in 1990 to offer foreign nationals temporary permission to live and work in the U.S., instead of being returned to countries that are deemed unsafe after natural disasters, armed conflict or other emergencies. Salvadorans, for example—the largest group of TPS holders—were provided the provisional status and protected from deportation after earthquakes hit the country in 2001, and their protected status has been routinely renewed ever since. The status must be renewed periodically, for six- to 18-month intervals.

(SHRM Online)

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