Temporary Protected Status: Honduras, Somalia, Yemen, and Nepal. What Does That Mean for Those Nationals?

Immigration Reform, Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status, also known as TPS, is a designation given to certain foreigners that are citizens of another country who are present in the United States but cannot immediately return due to the current conditions of their country. Typically, these individuals were present in the U.S. when events such as sudden armed conflict, national disasters, or other elements that impact the ability of these individuals returning safely to their country of origin take place. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has removed TPS status for a number of countries including El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

However, there are a number of other countries that, while currently protected under TPS, may not be in the near future. These countries include Honduras, Somalia, Yemen, and Nepal. So, what does the future look like for nationals of these countries?

On November 6, 2017, the DHS announced that TPS status for nationals of Honduras would expire on July 5, 2018. Several months later, in May of 2018, they then announced TPS for Hondurans would be extended to January of 2020. That gives these nationals approximately another 18 months to live in the United States. Currently, there are 86,000 Hondurans with TPS in the country.

Citizens of Nepal were granted TPS in June of 2015 after over 3.5 million people were left homeless after a massive earthquake. Approximately 9,000 currently have TPS protection in the United States. That may end shortly, however. In April of 2018, the DHS granted citizens of Nepal an extension to June of 2019. At that time, however, their protection under this status will expire if the DHS does not grant them another extension.

Somalia is the country with perhaps the least amount of people protected under TPS in the United States. There are only about 500 Somalia nationals in America right now. They are also nationals that have enjoyed one of the longest runs of TPS protection, as it was granted in 1991 after the Somali Civil War broke out. In July of 2018, the DHS did provide an extension until March 2020 for Somalia nationals. However, unlike some of the other extensions granted, their status will come to an end at that time, meaning that Somalis that have been in the U.S. since that time will not be able to reapply for TPS benefits.

Another country that was granted TPS status after a civil war broke out in the country was Yemen. Currently, there are approximately 800 Yemen nationals under TPS protection in the United States. Like Somalia, the DHS has extended this protection for Yemen until March of 2020, and Yemen citizens will not be able to reapply after that time.

While being granted an extension of TPS is good news for nationals of other countries, the looming deadline they have all been given is enough to cause concern. When the deadlines are reached and TPS expires for thousands of foreign nationals, they will need to find a way to become legalize status, depart the United States, or otherwise remain in the country without status.