Dallas Lawyer Weighs in on Temporary Protected Status Designations

Dallas-based immigration lawyer Stewart Rabinowitz of the firm Rabinowitz &Rabinowitz offers some informed comment about recent 18-month extensions of Temporary Protected Status designations for foreign nationals from Nicaragua and Honduras.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of Nicaragua and Honduras from the current expiration of July 5, 2010, to the new expiration date of January 5, 2012. During the past year, DHS and the Department of State have reviewed the conditions in Nicaragua and Honduras. Based on this review, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has determined that an 18-month extension is warranted because the conditions that prompted the TPS designation in 1999 following the environmental disaster caused by Hurricane Mitch persist and prevent Nicaragua and Honduras from adequately handling the return of its nationals.

“This timely extension will help nearly 70,000 nationals from Nicaragua and Honduras remain in the U.S. legally and maintain work until their home countries have been able to recover from the damage accrued,” Rabinowitz says.

Under the extension, individuals who have been granted TPS are eligible to re-register and maintain their status for an additional 18 months provided they remain otherwise eligible for TPS. There are approximately 3,000 nationals of Nicaragua and approximately 66,000 nationals of Honduras (including people having no nationality who last habitually resided in either country) who may be eligible for re-registration. TPS does not apply to Nicaraguan or Honduran nationals who entered the United States after December 30, 1998.

To maintain TPS status, Nicaraguan and Honduran TPS beneficiaries must re-register during the re-registration period from May 5 until July 5, 2010. It is important for eligible Nicaraguans and Hondurans to re-register as soon as the re-registration period opens to allow sufficient time for USCIS to complete all the routine background checks and further application processing. Applications from Nicaraguan and Honduran TPS beneficiaries will not be accepted before May 5, 2010.

“USCIS will issue a new Employment Authorization Document to eligible TPS beneficiaries who can re-register in a timely fashion and apply for EADs,” states Rabinowitz. “USCIS is automatically granting a 6-month extension for existing EADs held by Nicaraguan and Honduran TPS beneficiaries, through January 5, 2011.This extension will allow sufficient time for eligible TPS beneficiaries to re-register and receive new EADs without any break in their authorization to be employed,” concludes Rabinowitz.

To learn more about Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.