United States and El Salvador sign agreements to extend TPS work permits

The United States and El Salvador today signed agreements on security and information exchange to reduce irregular migration and increase border security. The agreements were made in conjunction with the announcement of the 12-month extension to work permits through Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans until January 4, 2021.

Under the Border Security Agreement (Border Security Agreement)The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "will send officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to El Salvador to advise their counterparts in national police, border security, immigration and customs to further improve their current operating model and share best practices to support criminal investigations, counter human trafficking and drug smuggling".

Under the Biometric Data Sharing Program Arrangement (Biometric Data Sharing Program Arrangement)DHS and El Salvador will "enhance cooperation to prevent and combat crime and other threats to public safety by expanding biometric data collection and information sharing".

The agreements signed today are in addition to the Cooperative Asylum Agreement that DHS and El Salvador signed on September 20, 2019.

Uncertain future for Salvadorans in the TPS program

In the DHS press releaseEl Salvador's Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill assured that the government of President Nayib Bukele will continue to "work 24/7 for a permanent solution" so that the nearly 250,000 Salvadorans protected by TPS can "continue to fight for their dreams" in the United States.

However, the Trump Administration reiterated that its goal remains to end TPS for El Salvador and repatriate Salvadorans enrolled in the program without triggering another mass migration to the United States.

As part of the agreements, the U.S. agreed to grant an additional 365-day transition period to Salvadorans with TPS after the courts issue a judicial ruling on lawsuits related to TPSThis is expected to occur by mid-2020.

According to a statement issued by the Salvadoran government, it is "a concession" for El Salvador only, and means that the legal status of Salvadorans in TPS could be extended until January 2022.

Although Salvadorans will be able to benefit from this temporary immigration relief for one or maybe two more years, is not permanent.

Therefore, it is important that every person with TPS go to a licensed and experienced U.S. immigration attorney to see if there is a legal avenue that will allow them to apply for permanent residency.

They must act now. Don't wait until the last minuteThe processing of any immigration procedure takes time.