DHS Ends TPS for Nicaragua


Yesterday, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, announced the decision to end the Temporary Protected Status ("TPS") designation for Nicaragua. This decision was made after the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") reviewed the conditions upon which the country's original 1999 designation were based and whether they prevent Nicaragua from handling the return of their citizens. Additionally, DHS stated that no extension request was made by Nicaragua to continue their current TPS status. Therefore, Acting Secretary Duke concluded that the substantial but temporary conditions caused in Nicaragua by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 no longer existed and, pursuant to the applicable statute, the TPS designation must be terminated.

Though DHS has decided to end TPS for Nicaragua, it is delaying the effective date of the termination for twelve months, thereby extending the program until January 5, 2019, to allow for individuals to either seek an alternative lawful immigration status or to depart the United States. In addition to the delay, DHS is also calling on Congress to find a more permanent plan for long-term residents of the temporary program.

Temporary Protected Status is a program created through the Immigration Act of 1990 that provides relief to people from countries that have been deemed unsafe for various reasons, such as natural disasters and civil war. Individuals receiving TPS are not allowed to be deported, can obtain work authorization, and may receive travel authorization. In 1999, Nicaragua was added to the list of countries granted TPS due to the damage caused by Hurricane Mitch.

While the decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans has been made, the Acting Secretary extended TPS for Honduras through July 5, 2018, while more information is obtained and assessed. DHS has not made a decision on TPS for Haiti and El Salvador. In a letter to the agency, Neil Bradley, Chief Policy Officer for the United States Chamber of Commerce, urged DHS to extend TPS for these countries, emphasizing the potential impact termination would have on the workforce. Previously, the Acting Secretary extended TPS for South Sudan through May 2019.

Our office will continue to monitor developments and provide updates. If you have any questions, please contact your Goel & Anderson attorney.