Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced Friday the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras. Secretary Nielsen delayed the termination for 18 months to allow those in the United States under TPS to seek and apply for alternative lawful immigration status or, if no alternative exists, to prepare for departure to Honduras. TPS for Honduras terminates effective January 5, 2020.
TPS is a form of temporary status allowing individuals from certain countries to lawfully remain in the United States when conditions in the designated country prevent citizens and nationals from safely returning, or when the country is unable to securely facilitate and handle their return. Country conditions that lead to TPS designation include an ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster. Honduras was designated for TPS following the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1999, which killed thousands of people.
New Jersey is home to over 5,000 individuals from Honduras who are protected from deportation through the TPS program. The termination of TPS is expected to have significant ramifications on many New Jersey businesses and families—with the loss of over 5,000 able employees from the New Jersey workforce, and the possible separation of parents from their US Citizen children, properties, friends, jobs, and lives they have built in cities throughout New Jersey.
TPS for Honduras terminates effective January 5, 2020. Any Hondurans who are TPS beneficiaries with expiration dates prior to January 5, 2020, must take the necessary steps to extend until the date of termination. Also, employers must be on alert to prevent the unauthorized employment of Hondurans with TPS after January 5, 2020.
Norris McLaughlin & Marcus’s Immigration Practice Group urges Honduran TPS holders to immediately consult with immigration counsel to determine whether a TPS extension application should be filed and to evaluate what alternative lawful immigration status may be available.