The United States will expand eligibility for ‘Temporary Protected Status’ (TPS) that grants deportation relief and work permits to immigrants who cannot safely return to their home countries due to the threat of war or natural disaster, the Department of Homeland Security said last week.
The new designation will now cover around 150,000 Haitians already living in the United States. “After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement, saying that general security concerns, human rights violations, “crippling poverty and lack of basic resources” contributed to their decision.
A number of lawmakers, led by Democrats and joined a few Republicans, plus pro-immigrant advocacy groups, had pressed the Biden administration to make more Haitians eligible for protection from deportation. Donald Trump’s administration had fought to end most TPS designations, including that of Haitians, but this was struck down by federal judges.
Temporary Protected Status allows people already in the country to stay and gain work authorization if events in their home countries prevent their safe return. The designations last six to 18 months and can be renewed by the DHS.
Haitians were first given TPS protection following a devastating earthquake that hit the country in 2010. The new announcement means this protection is expanded from 54,000 individuals to 150,000. It also extends the program for 18 months for those already in it and expand eligibility to Haitians in the United States as of May 21. Those arriving in the U.S. from May 22 onwards will not be eligible and may be deported.
What is TPS?
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary status given to eligible nationals of designated countries who are present in the United States. The status, given to nationals from some countries affected by armed conflict or natural disaster, allows persons to live and work in the United States for limited times. Currently, persons from twelve countries have temporary protected status:
- El Salvador
- South Sudan
What should you know about TPS?
- A TPS designation can be made for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time and is indefinitely extendable by the DHS secretary
- Protected from deportation
- Work authorization available
- In certain cases, TPS may count as a legal ‘admission’ to the U.S. which can help future family petitions by a U.S. citizen spouse or children
- Considered a stable immigration ‘status’ as it falls under the Immigration and Nationality Act
If you’re from one of the TPS-designated countries and think you could be eligible, get in touch with our team today to book your consultation!