The Trump administration will be extending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 300,000 foreign nationals, in a sharp immigration policy reversal from last year's decision by President Trump decision to eliminate TPS amnesty.
The Thursday announcement by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Kirstjen Nielsen not only puts the Trump administration in compliance with a preliminary injunction on the initial decision to cancel the TPS program, but goes further by covering hundreds of thousands of nationals from Sudan, Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador through January 2020.
Sundanese and Nicaraguan nationals have been living in the country on extended TPS since 1997 and 1998 respectively, while El Salvadorians have been covered by TPS since approximately 2001. Haitians have had TPS since 2010 or so.
In February, Pew Research noted that nearly 2/3 of the 300,000 or so immigrants - roughly 195,000 people, are from El Salvador. 50,000 are from Haiti, and the rest are from Sudan and Nicaragua.
TPS was created under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990 (INA) introduced by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It has acted as a sort of quasi-amnesty used by foreign nationals who would otherwise be in the country illegally, and shields individuals from deportation back to countries which have suffered through war, famine or natural disasters.
The program, which was originally set to expire in July 1992, has been renewed by every administration since.
DHS will announce whether they will also renew the status of other foreign nationals covered under TPS set to expire in 2020, including people from Honduras, Yemen and Somalia.