Today, January 8, 2018, the Administration terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvadorans as of March 9, 2019. If a current TPS holder whose card is expiring this year wants to renew authorization to work, he or she will be required to re-register and apply for employment authorization which will expire on March 9, 2019.
This means that all Salvadoran TPS holders will have the next 18 months to obtain other legal status or to prepare to return to El Salvador. Other legal statuses include immigrant family visas which are always available for the spouse of a U.S. citizen, or an immigrant employment visa which may be available to otherwise eligible El Salvadorans to obtain lawful permanent status, provided an employer files, and is approved, by the Department of Labor and USCIS.
However, even if an employer or family member sponsors you for permanent residency (a “green card”), and if there is a surge of petitions for immigrant visas, the process could easily take more than 18 months for those waiting for an available visa.
Hopefully, during the next 18 months, Congress will consider a legislative solution to this situation. The IBLF has already requested of our Representative that an exemption from unlawful presence be granted to TPS holders for whom an immigrant visa has been petitioned and who are waiting for an available visa. However, do not plan on solutions occurring during these 18 months as NOTHING MAY HAPPEN. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare for the eventuality that on March 9, 2019, anyone holding TPS status must either choose to leave the country or remain in an illegal status, with all the unfortunate results.
My best wishes to all of you. Call if you have further questions.
The International Business Law Firm, PC
by Steffanie J. Lewis