Thousands of Salvadorans who re-registered for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program will have to continue to wait for their new work permits due to delays in the processing of their applications.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that it has not yet completed the processing of 6,000 Salvadoran TPS re-registration applications. But due to the delay, it announced that it will issue temporary work permits to these people with a validity period of 180 days while processing the applications.
USCIS already began issuing temporary work permits on October 5, 2015 - 26 days after the automatic extension of work permits expired on September 9, 2015.
This means that many Salvadorans with TPS have probably been harmed, because since September 9 they do not have a valid document that allows them to work.
The slowness and inefficiency of USCIS is seriously affecting these Salvadorans, many of whom have probably lost their jobs or have been unable to obtain employment because they do not have a current employment authorization document. Others may have lost state government benefits such as driver's licenses or unemployment benefits.
It remains to be seen how long it will take to send temporary work permits to all those affected and to provide temporary relief to these Salvadorans while they wait for their definitive documentation.
USCIS should have already completed the review of these applications by September 9, 2015 and issued the work permits with an expiration date of September 9, 2016. Unfortunately, they have not done so.
It is not understood why USCIS cannot process a TPS re-registration application in 6 months. Re-registration applicants are people who have been renewing their TPS for years. Therefore, it should not take USCIS that long to issue a decision on these cases.
USCIS must act immediately to process the 6,000 applications as soon as possible and prevent this from happening again in the future.