TPS Holders From Honduras May Get Reprieve From 2020 Termination Date

A possible reprieve for Honduran TPS holders facing a January, 2020 termination of their status and right to remain in the United States.

** LEGAL UPDATE **

Last year (2018), Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that Honduras would no longer be designated for TPS and that Honduran TPS holders would have to leave the United States by January 5, 2020.

For now, however, that deadline no longer applies. According to news reports, the Trump administration has consented to halting the termination of Honduran TPS, at least until U.S. federal courts make decisions in various lawsuits that have been filed over the administration's string of TPS terminations.

The issue of Honduras's TPS termination was raised in a class-action lawsuit called Bhattarai v. Nielsen, filed by the ACLU along with other immigrant rights organizations and advocates. The suit claimed that DHS's decision to end TPS for Honduras (as well as for Nepal) was:

  • procedurally flawed, having been made without following the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), not to mention done after a good deal of overt political pressure by the Trump Administration
  • unconstitutional, for having been motivated by racial animus, and
  • in violation of the TPS holders' constitutional due process rights as well as those of their school-aged U.S.-citizen children, who were then forced to choose between either leaving the U.S. or staying here but without their parents.

A similar lawsuit, Ramos v. Nielsen, was filed in 2018, and made essentially the same claims with respect to TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The court in that case issued a preliminary injunction, saying that the U.S. government must maintain TPS for immigrants from those four countries until the court could make its final decision on whether the government's terminations were legally valid.

This recent government agreement to hold off on terminating TPS for Honduras appears to be for the sake of ease and efficiency. This way, all its TPS terminations can be dealt with at once, after the various federal court judges issue their final decisions.

If you have TPS from Honduras, realize that this latest move does NOT mean you can stay in the U.S. indefinitely. It's even possible that the January, 2020 departure date could be resurrected, given the many months between now and then.

You'll want to keep on eye on the news for any announcements about court decisions or a new termination date. Hopefully, DHS will also issue an announcement automatically extending the work permits of TPS holders from Nepal, as it has done in similar situations before.

Also watch announcements from the U.S. Congress. House Democrats have introduced legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers as well as TPS holders, though it will be a long road to getting this approved.

Effective Date: March 12, 2019