What Is An Temporary Protected Status?
Millions of people apply for U.S. immigration every year. Some want to work in the United States so they can improve their financial situation, while others want to practice their beliefs without getting attacked for them. But not everyone wants to permanently move to the United States. Some people want to go back to their homelands once the situation gets better. USCIS awards temporary protected status to such individuals so they can stay in the U.S. for a limited period of time. But the decisions regarding the status of different individuals are only taken after making sure that their countries are engulfed in conflict. For instance, a person from Somalia or Haiti can be eligible for TPS, but not someone from England. The designations awarded to countries depend on various factors. But most commonly, TPS designations are for countries facing natural disasters and civil wars.
People from countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti can apply for temporary protected status in the United States. However, the TSP designations are only eligible for individuals if they are already in America at the time of the issuance of the federal register notice.
Why Do People Leave Their Homelands?
Growing up in a warzone is not something that everyone can relate to. Only those who have seen the destruction of civil wars everywhere around them since they opened their eyes know how hard it is to survive in such an environment. People from such countries as Somalia, Syria, and Liberia want nothing more than to live a peaceful life. If nothing else, they at least want to give a peaceful future to their children. In order to do so, they immigrate to countries like the United States. However, moving to the U.S. is not easy, and not everyone is lucky enough to get through the immigration process.
Countries like Haiti, Nepal, Syria, Somalia, Liberia, and Yemen have been facing internal conflicts for decades. Haiti has also been affected by natural disasters. There is only so much humanitarian assistance that can be provided by other countries. For populations of countries like Syria, Yemen, Nicaragua, and Nepal, moving away is the only solution. Parents have to do it to protect their children. But the immigration law is very complicated.
Not everyone can become an immigrant in the U.S. There is also a significant percentage of people who don’t want to become citizens of the United States but only need to protect themselves until the war in their homeland is over. For such people, the government of the United States has come up with the concept of temporary protected status.
What is a Temporary Protected Status?
A temporary protected status, also known as TPS, is a temporary status given to individuals from countries that have been affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts. The status allows the individuals to live and work in the U.S. for a limited period of time. The U.S. government has given temporary protected status to citizens of the following ten countries: Haiti, Yemen, Syria, Nepal, South Sudan, El Salvador, Honduras, Somalia, Sudan, and Nicaragua. In 2017, the majority of people with temporary protected status in the United States were from El Salvador. People from Honduras and Haiti were on the second and third number, respectively.
Different Rules for Protected Status?
There are different rules regarding the temporary protected status of foreign citizens. A person should already be in the United States by the time the Attorney General has designated a country’s nationals for temporary protected status to apply for it. Anyone who enters the U.S. after that date cannot apply for TPS. A person cannot be awarded temporary protected status if they have been convicted of a felony in the U.S. or have committed a hate crime.
Secretary of Homeland Security
This year, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security has extended the temporary protected status designations for Syria and South Sudan. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is not accepting forms for re-registration until more official news comes out on the issue. TPS holders have legal status in the U.S., so they don’t have to worry about deportation. TPS holders can stay in the U.S. if a hurricane, epidemic, or tsunami is affecting their homeland. They can learn more about the designations through federal register notices or from government websites. It is important for applicants to have the right documentation when applying for temporary protected status.
The immigration status of TSP holders is different from nonimmigrants living in the United States. They become TSP holders because of Homeland Security and Congress deciding that their homeland is not safe for them at the moment. Their immigration status can change later after the expiration of their temporary protected status.
Immigration registration period
Once the extension of temporary protected status for particular designations is announced, the registration period begins. It is important to submit your form during the initial registration period if you want to keep your lawful status. By keeping track of federal register notices, you can stay up to date about the registration and re-registration period. Once you are granted the temporary protected status, you won’t have to return to your country until the temporary conditions that prompted the U.S. administration to announce the TSP change.
What Will Happen if TPS is Terminated?
If the TPS for Haiti, Sudan, Honduras, South Sudan, El Salvador, and Nepal is terminated, how will it affect the United States and TPS holders? The temporary protection awarded to the nationals of Haiti, South Sudan, El Salvador, etc., helps in reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. People don’t have to get immigration benefits in an illegal way if they can get temporary protected status in the U.S. Since they can also get employment while in the United States, they don’t have to worry about their living conditions either.
Stay in the US for a specific time
People can stay in the U.S. for a specific time period until their country conditions get better. But the U.S. government also gives extension periods if original conditions do not get better. However, if the current designations change, it will create a lot of problems for the United States. People will enter the U.S. in illegal ways for employment. They will not sit back and let an environmental disaster hurt them and their children. They will take the risk of entering the United States illegally if they are not awarded temporary protected status.
Beneficiaries of TSP
The current beneficiaries of TSP have been able to stay in the United States instead of going back to their country of origin and put themselves in danger. But if the beneficiaries are issued notices by Congress to leave the U.S., there won’t be enough time for individuals and families to come up with a plan to protect themselves in their homeland. The decisions regarding extension and termination of TSP should be taken by Congress after making sure that the conditions in the designations have been changed. If Homeland Security starts sending people back to Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Nepal, and Syria, they will be putting them in danger.
Any notices regarding the temporary protected status designations should be shared with the holders in a post on the website of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The recipients of temporary protected status deserve to have a head start of months so they can come up with a plan for their future. A sudden notice will not help the people of Somalia, Nicaragua, and Honduras who are currently living in the United States.
For what reasons can a country be designated for TPS?
Currently, the countries with temporary protected status designations in the U.S. are Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. The reasons behind their designations are different. Citizens of countries like Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal have been awarded temporary protected status due to hurricanes and earthquakes in their homeland. The people of Yemen, Somalia, and Syria have been awarded temporary protected status because of the civil wars in their countries. Nationals of various countries, including Liberia, Kuwait, and Lebanon, have been awarded temporary protected status in the past.
Employment for TPS Holders:
The American administration can give authorization to TPS holders who want to work in the country. They can request an employment authorization document or permit regardless of their country of origin. Temporary protected status holders can easily get the authorization and begin working in the U.S in jobs according to their ability and skills. Each TSP holder may be a noncitizen, but they can make money and run their households while they are in the U.S. It is important to send the request for employment authorization to the right authority.
Government officials will give authorization to eligible individuals only, so learn the requirements before filing Form I-766, employment authorization documents. People can also apply for travel authorization if they want to visit a foreign country. The children of TSP holders can study in American schools without requesting a permit.
What if the TPS is Withdrawn?
In certain cases, the temporary protected status can be withdrawn by USCIS. However, in such a situation, the registrant can file another initial form, I-821. If the form is approved, the registrant can file a re-registration application to get their temporary protected status. In certain cases, the petition can be submitted to courts, and their ruling can decide the statuses of registrants.
Currently, the temporary protected status designations for Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal, Sudan, and El Salvador have been extended through October of this year. Whereas the temporary protected status designations for Syria and Sudan have been extended until September and May of the next year, respectively. Read also our blog about how to pick an immigration lawyer in case you need help.