On April 26th, Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Secretary Nielson, delayed termination of TPS for 12 months, and protections will officially end on June 24th, 2019.
TPS for Nepal
The order comes a day after the three-year anniversary of one of the deadliest earthquakes in history. On April 25th, 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated some of the most densely populated areas in Nepal. Thousands of people were instantly killed by failed buildings and falling debris, and even more were left homeless by the quake and aftershocks. Due to the extreme situation in the country following the disaster, DHS granted TPS to foreign nationals from Nepal. The environmental disaster conditions persisted for the next couple of years, and roughly 9,000 Nepalese immigrants entered the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status. After hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed in Nepal, many sought refuge in the U.S. for the opportunity to escape homelessness. Now, Nepalese citizens must obtain separate immigration status, return to Nepal, or risk lapsing into undocumented status after June 24th, 2019.
Trump Administration and TPS
As previously reported, Nepal is among a series of countries that have lost TPS since Trump gained office. Similar to the end of TPS for Haiti, critics of the DHS decision note the continued dire situation in Nepal following the earthquake. Three years later, many Nepalese residents remain homeless as the country attempts to recover from the devastating hit to infrastructure during the 2015 earthquake. However, DHS claims that Nepal has made “substantial progress in post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction,” and TPS is no longer necessary. Regardless of the situation in Nepal, the Trump Administration has declared that Nepalese TPS holders must coordinate a new legal visa status or leave the United States.