Arizona residents may have heard that the United States is ending the special status currently given to 5,300 people of Nicaraguan origin. This protection is set to end in January 2019 according to the Trump administration. Another 86,000 Honduran residents who receive protection under the Temporary Protected Status will continue under that program until July 2018. However, there is no guarantee that the program will be extended after that.

TPS was implemented after Hurricane Mitch forced those living in Central America to immigrate to other countries such as the United States. There are more than 300,000 people from nine countries who are part of the TPS program, but there are hundreds of thousands from Central America who live and work in the country illegally. The program was ended for those from Nicaragua because it was determined that conditions created by the 1999 storm no longer exist.

While they could have been asked to leave the country on Jan. 5, they were given another year for logistical purposes. While some may be forced to leave the country, others may have enough time to seek legal status in the United States. Participants in the TPS program can apply to remain in the country for anywhere from six to 18 months because of natural disasters or political strife in their home countries.

Those who are concerned about their ability to remain in the United States may want to consult with an attorney. This may make it possible to have questions about an individual’s status answered with more certainty. If a person is deemed to not have legal status, it may be possible to begin the process of obtaining it. In some cases, a person may remain in the country while in the process of seeking legal status.