The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Friday an extension of work authorization for certain Salvadoran nationals in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program.
Thousands of Salvadoran immigrants had risked losing their right to work in the U.S. on Sept. 5, due in large part to a backlog in processing applications to renew their TPS benefits.
Now, eligible recipients are expected to receive a notice extending their employment authorization through March 2019, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said Friday.
"The notice will provide evidence of the automatic extension of your EAD through March 4, 2019, to show to your employer," reads an update on the agency's website.
Almost 200,000 Salvadorans are authorized to live and work in the U.S. under TPS, a program designed to protect foreign nationals who can't go back to their countries because of natural or man-made disasters.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenUS to restart 'Remain in Mexico' program following court order Far-left bullies resort to harassing, shaming Kyrsten Sinema — it won't work Ex-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP MORE canceled El Salvador's TPS designation in January, but gave beneficiaries 18 months to find a new immigration status or leave the country.
Salvadoran TPS recipients had until this past March to re-apply for their status, which confers a renewed work permit until the designation ends in September 2019.
USCIS, the agency that oversees permits for foreign nationals to live, work or travel in the United States, regularly has backlogs in processing applications.
To ensure continuity of labor, USCIS had in the past extended work permits for TPS beneficiaries for 180 days by making announcements in the Federal Register.
Jill Marie Bussey, director of advocacy at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), argued that the letters and the website announcement Friday don't comply with the law and could leave some workers unprotected.
TPS beneficiaries must fill a specific form to show their employers they're eligible to work in the United States.
"The form tells employers they can only accept an expired EAD when they have been extended by regulation or a federal registrar notice," Bussey said, referring to an employment authorization document (EAD).
In January, DHS announced extended work authorization for Haitian TPS holders much in the same manner as Friday's announcement for El Salvador.
"If they do what they did with the poor Haitian population, my goodness they posted that website at 4 p.m. on a Friday," Bussey said.
The El Salvador TPS announcement posted shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday.
A DHS official maintained on Friday that no Salvadoran TPS holders would see an interruption in their ability to work because of the automatic extension.
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