The US Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigration route has been extended for people coming to America from disaster-struck countries. Citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras and Nepal will still have permissions to enter/remain in America under the TPS US immigration scheme until October 2021 at least.
The TPS program enables some citizens of countries hit by a natural disaster, armed conflict or other extraordinary events to remain in America and apply for US work permits. TPS is renewed by the Department of Homeland Security periodically in six- to 18-month intervals.
However, as with most US immigration routes, the TPS scheme has been targeted by Donald Trump in recent months, as the outgoing President seeks to reduce humanitarian protections for hundreds and thousands of migrants that were set to be excluded from the US in March 2021 as the TPS program was wound down.
The DHS announced that the TPS US immigration program would be extended as part of an agreement between the Trump administration and plaintiffs in related lawsuits not to terminate protections while lawsuits go through the US court system.
As part of his pledge to overturn many of Donald Trump’s controversial US visa and immigration policies, President-elect Joe Biden has also promised not to return people in the US under the TPS scheme to unsafe countries.
President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, welcomed the extension saying: “It will protect some 44,000 of our citizens living in the United States who have been forced out of Honduras because of severe storms.”
Hernandez was in Washington recently to discuss the extension and said: “In the United States, during the meeting with the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (Chad Wolf), they told us that the TPS that was going to end in January will be extended.”
Hondurans have benefitted from the TPS program since it was established in 1998 following the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch when it swept through the impoverished Central American nation.
Following the extension of the TPS scheme for citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras and Nepal, Guatemala has also requested to be included.
Hong Kong set for TPS access
Meanwhile, a bill was recently passed by the US House of Representatives that would grant citizens of Hong Kong access to the TPS system. The move comes in an effort to protect Hong Kong nationals from persecution amid the Chinese government’s tightening grip over the Special Administrative Region.
Amid concern over China exerting authority over Hong Kong, several countries have offered its citizens a route out of the region, including the UK with the launch of its BNO visa.
TPS is currently provided to more than 400,000 nationals, with nearly 250,000 from El Salvador. Most foreign nationals in the US under the scheme live in California, Florida, Texas, New York and Maryland.
Most El Salvadorians live in Washington, Los Angeles and New York, while Hondurans live mostly in New York, Miami and Houston.
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