Connecticut, US

Sep 14 2020

Federal Appeals Court Allows Trump Administration to Terminate TPS for Several Countries

United States

At a glance

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Trump Administration may proceed with its long-planned termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, vacating a lower court order blocking the terminations. 
  • The decision does not have immediate impact on the status or work authorization of TPS beneficiaries from the four countries. TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan will retain their status and employment authorization in the near term. Haitian TPS beneficiaries are not affected by today’s court ruling as they will continue to benefit from a separate court injunction against termination of the program for Haiti.

The issue

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that the Department of Homeland Security may proceed with its long-planned termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, vacating a lower court decision that had blocked the terminations while a lawsuit challenging them continues. The Ninth Circuit determined that the DHS has the authority to implement the terminations while a lawsuit on the merits of the terminations proceeds in federal district court. The plaintiff-appellees in the case are expected to seek further review of today’s decision. The case is Ramos v. Wolf.

The decision also impacts the TPS designations for Nepal and Honduras, as required by court order in a separate California district court case. Termination of TPS status for these countries was held in abeyance by the preliminary injunction issued in Ramos, but now DHS may move forward in terminating their status as well. 

Impact on status and employment authorization

TPS beneficiaries from the following six countries will not see an immediate impact to their status or work authorization. The status of TPS benefits for these countries is as follows:

  • El Salvador: TPS benefits for Salvadoran grantees are set to terminate 365 days from today’s decision, plus additional time for the plaintiff-appellees to seek additional court review.
  • Nicaragua and Sudan: TPS benefits will remain in place for 120 days from today’s decision, plus additional time for the plaintiff-appellees to seek additional court review.
  • Haiti: TPS benefits for Haiti will remain in place until further notice, pursuant to an injunction issued by a New York federal district court in a separate case.
  • Nepal and Honduras: Pursuant to agreement in a separate court case, TPS benefits will remain in place for 120 days from today's decision, plus additional time for the plaintiff-appellees to seek additional court review.

What the decision means for employers and foreign nationals

Affected employees with TPS work authorization can continue to work in the near term. USCIS is expected to issue instructions regarding implementation of the termination, including the validity of TPS employment authorization documents, which are currently valid for these countries until January 4, 2021.

DHS is expected to announce next steps in the TPS terminations, which have been a longstanding priority of the Trump Administration. Meanwhile, bills have been introduced in Congress to preserve the TPS program. Former Vice President Joe Biden has said that he intends to retain the program if he is elected president in November.

Fragomen is closely monitoring the status of TPS and will provide additional updates as developments occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.