On September 23, the Department of Homeland Security issued an extension Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Liberia, Guinea Bissau, and Sierra Leone allowing them to remain in the country until May 2017. TPS for citizens of those three have looming expiration dates.

The announcement included the message, “The Department of Homeland Security urges individuals who do not have another immigration status to use the time before the terminations become effective in May to prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States or to apply for other immigration benefits for which they may be eligible.“

This announcement is not only unusual; it is, as far as we know, unprecedented to wind down this status that protects against deportation and urge those who will revert to illegal immigrant status and the termination of their legal work status to prepare to leave the U.S. Whether that May 2017 expiration is actually imposed, and whether DHS will make any meaningful effort to remove people whose TPS has expired, remains to be seen. It would, of course, be even more remarkable if it were done earlier during the presidential election and while President Obama was still in office.