A federal judge has temporarily blocked the Trump administration from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 300,000 Haitians, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Sudanese currently in the U.S. Although this is good news for TPS holders and their employers, it remains only temporary. Therefore, we urge TPS holders and employers to consider obtaining a green card or pursuing alternative immigration options. We’re happy to talk if you or your employee is in this situation.
The TPS Lawsuit
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled that maintaining TPS for Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, and Sudan would create no immediate harm to the federal government while a lawsuit filed in March proceeds. However, the program’s termination would cause “irreparable harm and great hardship” for TPS recipients and their families, he wrote.
In March, nine individuals from the four countries and five children born in the U.S. filed a lawsuit challenging the scheduled end of TPS for the four countries. The next hearing in the case is set for Oct. 26.
The Department of Homeland Security argued that the program has previously been wrongly extended. The Department asserts that conditions in the four countries have improved enough for their citizens to return home. Judge Chen disagreed. He ruled that the Trump administration may have violated federal rulemaking guidelines, pressured staffers to recommend termination, and violated the Equal Protection Clause by ending TPS for “non-white, non-European immigrants.”
The TPS Program
The Secretary of Homeland Security possesses the authority to designate or extend TPS. Countries suffering major crises, such as war, a natural disaster, or an epidemic or other event are eligible for TPS designation. Citizens of TPS designated countries who are in the U.S. at the time of the designation can remain and work in the U.S. until TPS expires.
In a brief filed by 17 states—including California and New York— the states estimated they would lose $160 billion in gross domestic product, $6.9 billion in Social Security and Medicare contributions, and nearly $1 billion in employers’ turnover costs if TPS recipients from Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, and Sudan are sent home.
Alternatives to TPS
Since TPS remains on shaky ground, individuals with TPS should consider obtaining green cards. Some TPS holders are eligible for either employment-based or family-based green cards. If you have TPS or employ someone who does, we can help assess your options. Reach out to us if we can help. We’re happy to talk.