As announced this week by the Department of National Security (DHS), the TPS granted to Nicaragua in 1999 has been canceled, so the 2,500 Nicaraguans living in the United States under that status will have to return to their country in January 2019.
In addition, DHS announced an extension of only 6 months to the TPS of Honduras and indicated that after that time, the benefit could also be canceled, which has left in limbo 57,000 Hondurans protected by that immigration benefit. However, all hope may not be lost for these immigrants.
Hila Moss and Kevin Schroeder, attorneys for USCRI in Raleigh, North Carolina, say there is a possibility that people with TPS may apply for asylum, even if they have lived in the country for many years, if they can prove that they have a “credible fear” of returning to their place of origin.
“Normally, to apply for asylum in the United States, you have to do it in less than a year of your entry into the country, but if there are circumstances that have changed in a person’s situation, there is an exception to that rule,” Schroeder said. “It is an open question, we do not know the answer yet, but perhaps there is a possibility that simply the fact that the government has announced that they are going to stop the TPS program for Nicaragua, that this may perhaps be considered a sufficiently changing circumstance for a person to apply for asylum.”
This is just one of many options that former TPS recipients have available. Moss and Schroeder also discuss the possibilities of family request options, making the decision to travel to ultimately change immigration status requests, or even going through a court process. Even if a person with TPS loses their temporary status, they should not be deported without first going through a process in an immigration court, where there are certain benefits for which they may qualify.