On May 4, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for immigrants from Honduras. The effective date will be January 20, 2020.
Originally issued for Honduran nationals in 1998, TPS was granted to those Hondurans who sought refuge in the United States after Hurricane Mitch destroyed their country.
This move hardly came as a surprise as in the past year, the Trump administration has terminated TPS for approximately 200,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, 46,000 from Haiti, 9,000 from Nepal, 2,500 from Nicaragua and 1,000 from Sudan, as well as 4,000 Liberians.
The administration has effectively terminated the Temporary Protected Status program, which was meant to provide respite and safety for foreign nationals finding themselves in the United States for one reason or another when a natural disaster, war or conflict affects their ability to return to their home countries. To date, no administration has terminated the TPS program for any country and many of the TPS applicants who have resided in the United States continually since the grant of their TPS status have established businesses and families here, and have U.S. citizen children and grandchildren.
In addition to the termination of the TPS program, the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is also in the crosshairs of the Trump administration and seven states have recently challenged the U.S. government, which is attempting to end the program. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia have asserted that the Obama administration overstepped its authority when it created the DACA program. Currently, the Supreme Court is due to render a decision on the Obama administration's authority when it created the DACA program. All in all, close to one million people residing in the United States currently have an uncertain future. They are not assured that they will be permitted to remain in the United States, work and flourish here with their families.
For the private sector, the concerns do not always end with the mere notification that the TPS or DACA programs may be terminated. That may not resonate personally, but many issues and questions do arise in the I-9 context and the ability of employers to keep those individuals presenting employment authorization cards on their payrolls. The rules are complex and detailed. It is best to check in with a professional regarding the ability to notify, re-verify and maintain accurate I-9 records without the risk of being charged with discrimination or paperwork violations.
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