Special Immigration Status Extended for Some Central Americans
Department of Homeland Security has announced it will extend by 18 months amount of time it will allow hundreds of thousands of Central Americans in US to continue residing and working here legally
By Cheryl Smith,
11:15AM, Fri. May 11, 2007
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will extend by 18 months the amount of time it will allow hundreds of thousands of Central Americans living in the U.S. to continue residing and working here legally. On May 2, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the government will “extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for eligible nationals of Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador,” according to a DHS press release. The announcement impacts an estimated 78,000 Hondurans, 4,000 Nicaraguans, and 230,000 El Salvadorans. “The extension is part of the Administration’s ongoing assistance to Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador in recovering from natural disasters that have affected Central America,” reads the release, which quotes U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonzalez as saying, “Although Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador have made significant progress in their recovery and rebuilding efforts, each country continues to face social and economic challenges in their efforts to restore their nations to normalcy.” As part of the Immigration Act of 1990, Congress established TPS for people living in the U.S. “who are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions,” says the Web site of USCIS, an arm of the DHS. The current TPS period for Hondurans and Nicaraguans ends July 5; it expires for El Salvadorans on Sept. 9. According to the release, “Filing periods for these three designations have not yet begun. … Details on where, when and how to file under each designation will soon be published in the Federal Register…” Additional information will also be available at www.uscis.gov or by calling USCIS’ National Customer Service Center – 1-800-375-5283; for local assistance, see the Web site of the Political Asylum Project of Austin or call PAPA at 478-0546.