As TPS Ends, Hondurans Directed to Seek Alternative Status

With the end of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras slated to end in 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directs eligible nationals interested in staying in the United States to seek alternative legal immigration status. The current TPS designation for the Central American country ends Jan. 5, 2020.

DHS requires citizens of Honduras who currently hold TPS registration to re-register for TPS and to apply for Employment Authorization Documents in order to continue legally working in the United States until the TPS termination date becomes effective in 18 months time. Honduran beneficiaries of the TPS designation will submit re-registration applications with the release of the re-registration announcement through the Federal Register notice, which will also include further details about the TPS termination.

U.S. officials originally extended TPS designation to Honduras in 1999 as a result of Hurricane Mitch, which ravaged the country in 1998. Since then, conditions in the country have improved markedly, according to a DHS release. “Additionally, since the last review of the country’s conditions in October 2016, Honduras has made substantial progress in post-hurricane recovery and reconstruction.”

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, countries facing environmental disaster can be assigned the TPS designation. In her decision to terminate the designation, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen assessed available information that included consultative inter-agency recommendations to determine “that the disruption of living conditions in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch that served as the basis for its TPS designation has decreased to a degree that it should no longer be regarded as substantial. Thus, as required under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.”

The 18-month notice ending Honduran TPS is intended to provide time for affected individuals to arrange for their departure if other legal immigration status isn’t pursued. Additionally, the delay allows time for Honduras to prepared for the return and the reintegration of its citizens. During the transition months, DHS will work with both the Department of State and the Honduran government to help educate relevant stakeholders in the situation and to facilitate an orderly transition. DHS also plans participation in outreach activities like teleconferences, town halls and roundtables as part of an effort to ensure “affected populations have a full and accurate understanding of their rights and obligations.”