** LEGAL UPDATE **
Citizens and nationals of El Salvador who were in the U.S. (whether legally or illegally) in March of 2001 when two major earthquakes hit that country were, shortly after that time, granted the right to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the United States. The legal basis was that the damage and disruption to living conditions caused by the earthquake made their country unable to adequately handle return of its nationals. Salvadoran TPS recipients were granted work permits (employment authorization documents) and a temporary right to remain in the U.S., which rights were extended at various times over the years.
Most recently, the Trump Administration has announced it will extend TPS benefits for people from El Salvador through January 4, 2021; but plans to end it thereafter. They expect current TPS recipients to either find another legal basis upon which to remain in the U.S. or to make arrangements for departure.
A few might, for example, be able to immigrate through family members or asylum. Others will face certain deportation, however.
Unlike normal TPS designations, this one was made not after an assessment of country conditions and determination of ongoing danger, but after an agreement was signed with the government of El Salvador under which it agrees to help stop migrants passing through on their way to the United States border.
Approximately 250,000people with TPS status will apparently be affected by this extension. It appears that Salvadoran TPS recipients will not need to apply for renewals, but that their status will be extended automatically. More specific instructions from DHS on this are expected soon.
Also, ongoing litigation about the termination of TPS will affect the date upon which people must actually leave. The recent announcement gives TPS-holding Salvadorans 365 days after the conclusion of TPS-related lawsuits to repatriate to their home country.
Effective Date: October 28, 2019