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Understanding TPS: Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is under attack by the Trump administration. It is important to know what TPS is and how it could affect your loved ones.

The Immigration Act of 1990 created TPS to give temporary status to immigrants within the United States who cannot return back to their home countries safely due to unsafe conditions.

Once given TPS, migrants in the U.S. can stay for up to 18 months unless the government extends the time-frame. There are currently ten countries listed as protected under TPS, they are:

  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen

The majority of people here in the U.S. under TPS are from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras, due to earthquakes and a hurricane.

Since coming into office in January 2017, President Trump’s administration has announced the end of TPS for several countries because conditions in their home countries have improved, allegedly because they are able to return safely. The safety of those countries is heavily contested.

On July 5, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced her decision to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Yemen for 18 months through March 3, 2020. Later, on July 19, 2018, she announced her decision to extend the TPS designation for Somalia for 18 months through March 17, 2020. So far, however, there are no extension plans announced for El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras.

U.S. Diplomats have warned against ending TPS designation those three countries. They are still unsafe to return to, and deporting those here in the U.S. will further destabilize those countries. With Haiti’s TPS designation set to expire in less than a year, on July 22, 2019 (on the date of this publishing), ongoing litigation is challenging the termination of the TPS designation to these countries.

Those here on TPS designation are not free-loaders. They raise families, pay taxes, work and own small businesses. The Center for Migration Studies says 88 percent of Haitians here on TPS are in the labor force, as well as 85 percent of El Salvadorans.

If deported, the economy and Social Security would also suffer. The Center for American Progress estimates that if the U.S. ends TPS designation for the three countries we would lose $164 Billion over 10 years and cause a $6.9 billion loss to Social Security.

Ending TPS designation for these countries would cause yet another humanitarian crisis, one easily avoided with the stroke of the president’s pen.

Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During nearly 20 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families with their immigration issues. You can Ask Henry a question at or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels. For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: (407) 512-9919. Our first consultation is complimentary.