Nationals of six countries who live in the United States under a special humanitarian status will be permitted to stay longer, the U.S. government announced Friday, delaying the Trump administration’s target dates for terminating the program for certain groups.
Officials pushed back the end date of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan, in order to comply with court orders stemming from ongoing lawsuits, the government said in a document released Friday.
The lawsuits were brought by civil rights and immigrant rights groups challenging the termination of TPS for nationals of the six countries, which was originally scheduled for early next year.
TPS recipients from those nations will have their status automatically extended to January 4, 2021, but with a caveat. While recipients may continue to live and work legally in the U.S. for an extended period, the document released Friday states that, should a judge rule in favor of the government sooner, TPS holders from the named countries will have 120 days from that point to adjust their immigration status or leave the country.
The announcement follows Monday’s news, tweeted by El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, that a deal had been struck with Washington to extend protected status for about 250,000 Salvadorans residing in the U.S., the largest of the TPS groups.
Salvadoran recipients may get an extension for an additional year, pushing the end date to 2022, according to the document and statements by Bukele.
Friday’s U.S. announcement had been anticipated in Honduras, where earlier this week the country’s news media reported an extension for some Hondurans living in the U.S., based on comments made by Honduran Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales.
The United States offers TPS to citizens of nations in crisis – sometimes from war, other times because of a natural disaster – who are in the US already and cannot safely return to their country.
Once the status expires, for example if conditions in the country improve and the U.S. government deems TPS to no longer be justified, its recipients return to whatever status they held before TPS. If they lack legal status, they can be deported.