DHS offers no clarity on future of TPS

If the 195,000 Salvadorans in the US on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) hoped to get clarity on their status from a decision today by the Department of Homeland Security, they were disappointed.   Today was the date for DHS to act on TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua, for those who had been in the country since Hurricane Mitch in 1998.   Although a letter from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week seemed to make a negative decision probable, the action by DHS today was more of a non-decision.   

Acting Secretary Elaine Duke decided not to extend TPS for Nicaragua past January 5, 2018, but did delay the effective date of her decision until January 5, 2019 to allow for an orderly transition.   This effects about 2550 Nicaraguans in the US.    In contrast, the DHS announcement says the Department did not have sufficient information about conditions in Honduras today compared to the time of Hurricane Mitch, and could not make a determination whether extension of TPS was warranted.   As a consequence, TPS is automatically extended for another six months for Honduras.

There was no mention of El Salvador or Haiti in today's decision.  The next key date for the future of the TPS program comes on November 23, 2018 when DHS must rule on the extension of the program for 50,000 Haitians granted TPS protection after the 2010 earthquake in their country. 

DHS must  make a decision by January 8, 2018 whether to  extend TPS for Salvadorans past the current March 9, 2018 expiration date (or make no determination and have an automatic six month extension).. 

There was one sentence in Duke's pronouncement with which I wholeheartedly agree:
Recognizing the difficulty facing citizens of Nicaragua – and potentially citizens of other countries – who have received TPS designation for close to two decades, Acting Secretary Duke calls on Congress to enact a permanent solution for this inherently temporary program.