Under a bilateral migration agreement signed by the United States and El Salvador Monday, the U.S. will extend work authorization for Salvadoran nationals holding temporary protected status (TPS) for one year.

Key points:

  • Salvadoran TPS currently remains in place until Jan. 2, 2020 under a court injunction requiring DHS to maintain the status quo while lawsuits progress.
  • Under the bilateral agreement, the validity of employment authorization documents issued to Salvadoran TPS holders will remain valid through Jan. 4, 2021.
  • Additionally, according to the agreement, the U.S. will give Salvadoran TPS holders one year to repatriate back to El Salvador after the conclusion of lawsuits that are challenging the termination of TPS.

Background: In January 2018, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would terminate the TPS program for El Salvador on Sept. 9, 2019. In October 2018, a court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to keep the program in place while lawsuits progress. To comply with the court order, DHS is maintaining TPS for six countries—El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is weighing whether to keep the injunction in place or remove it. TPS covers approximately 280,000 Salvadorans.

BAL Analysis: The bilateral agreement will extend work authorization until Jan. 4, 2021, and, if a court upholds DHS’ decision to terminate TPS, will allow Salvadorans a year to repatriate after the lawsuit concludes. TPS for Salvadorans remains in place at this time and courts may require DHS to extend the program beyond the current date of Jan. 2, 2020 while the lawsuits progress.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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