The Biden administration on Thursday said it would extend the deportation protections and work permits of an estimated 337,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras through the summer of 2024, preempting a court decision that could have led to their legal status expiring next year.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a notice that it will allow immigrants from these countries to continue living and working in the U.S. legally under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) policy until at least June 2024. Created in 1990, TPS is a deportation relief program the U.S. can extend to nationals of countries beset by armed conflict, natural disasters or other humanitarian crises.
Thursday’s announcement comes two weeks after court negotiations between the Biden administration and lawyers representing TPS holders, paving the way for the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the legal status of hundreds of thousands of immigrants enrolled in the program to take effect.
But in its notice on Thursday, DHS said immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal and Honduras would get to keep their work permits and deportation protections at least 365 days after the department is allowed to end the TPS programs in question, or until June 30, 2024 — whichever date comes later.
The June 30, 2024, extension also applies to certain Haitian and Sudanese immigrants, but they are also eligible to apply for work permits and deportation protections under expansions of TPS programs for Haiti and Sudan announced by the Biden administration that are not affected by the litigation in federal court.
“DHS is well aware of the importance of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in providing stability to people’s lives,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News on Thursday.
As of the end of 2021, 241,699 Salvadorans, 76,737 Hondurans, 14,556 Nepalis and 4,250 Nicaraguans were enrolled in the TPS program, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data.