Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a designation that the Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security may grant to eligible foreign-born individuals who are in the U.S. and not able to return home. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safety, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” Some circumstances that may result in TPS status include earthquakes, hurricanes, epidemics and civil war.
TPS holders are eligible for employment authorization. EAD “A-12” or “C-19” indicates TPS. If a TPS employee provides an employer with an EAD that expired but was automatically extended, the I-9 must be corrected. Once granted TPS, an individual must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. When the status terminates, an individual’s TPS-related Employment Authorization Document (EAD) expires.
In 2001 El Salvador was hit by two earthquakes. Since then, approximately 200,000 individuals from the country have been permitted to legally live and work in the United States under TPS. Under the program, eligible nationals who are already in the United States may apply to stay under the status and those who are not yet in the United States may apply for the status as well. TPS has also been extended to other countries; however, the Trump Administration has announced that it will not renew TPS for individuals from certain countries.
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Haitians were granted TPS. However, in November 2017, the Trump Administration ended TPS for Haitians. Haitians in the United States pursuant to the status will need to leave the country by July 22, 2019, find another legal way to remain in the United States, or face deportation.
In a similar move, less than two months later, on January 8, 2018, the Administration announced that it would also end the status for the nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador who have lived and worked in the United States for more than a decade. The ending of the status for those from El Salvador will be delayed 18 months. Accordingly, individuals have until September 9, 2019 to find another lawful way to remain in the United States or leave the United States. Those who remain in the United States after September 9, 2019 illegally will be subject to deportation.
TPS status for Hondurans ends on July 5, 2018, with their EADs expiring on the Fourth of July.
Once an individual is granted TPS, he or she must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain TPS benefits. While the re-registration period for Hatians and El Salvadorians ends March 19, 2018, re-registration for Hondurans who already have TPS ends on February 13th.
Because civil and criminal penalties for employing individuals without the proper documentation are substantial, employers who employ individuals from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, or any other country under the Temporary Protected Status program should be aware when the status is coming to an end. Shortly before the status terminates, the employee’s TPS-related EAD will expire, and the employee will be required to present a valid work authorization document to continue employment with the employer.