Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a U.S. immigration status granted to nationals of certain countries whose conditions are such where it would be unsafe for them to return home, usually because of either armed conflict or natural disasters. The current federal administration has sought to end the benefit for many countries, but on October 4, 2018, the Northern District of California barred the administration from doing so for nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. This changes matters for immigrants from those countries, at least for now.
What Is TPS?
TPS is an immigration benefit first instituted as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. In that piece of legislation, the Attorney General originally, and now the Secretary of Homeland Security, may designate a specific country whose nationals may remain in the U.S. for the term of the benefit since sending them home would be unsafe. Once granted TPS, a person may stay in the U.S. until the benefit is canceled. They can also seek employment authorization, and in some cases, travel authorization with permission to return.
It is important to keep in mind that TPS is a purely humanitarian benefit, and does not give anyone the right to any other type of immigration benefit - adjustment of status is not possible, meaning that if you, for example, want to marry a U.S. citizen, you cannot do so on TPS without also applying for the proper fiance visa. TPS is meant to be temporary, but at the same time, if country conditions have not improved, one should be able to point to this as a reason to remain in the U.S., and for many countries with TPS, conditions at home have simply not improved....