What You Should Know about Temporary Protected Status in America

What You Should Know about Temporary Protected Status in AmericaIn the U.S., certain countries are designated as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The designation is awarded when circumstances make it impossible to guarantee that foreign nationals could return to their home country safely. The Secretary of Homeland Security makes or removes the designation.

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

  • “Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane or an epidemic)
  • Any other extraordinary and temporary conditions.”

Foreign nationals from a country designated as TPS who are physically in the U.S. cannot be removed and can obtain work permits.  Moreover, the Department of Homeland Security cannot detain them because of their immigration status, either.

Recently, the U.S. removed the TPS designation from Nicaragua. As a result, about 2,500 people will have 14 months to return to Nicaragua, or to file to change their residency status. This means they can apply to become a lawful permanent resident or begin the process of becoming a naturalized citizen. The U.S. also removed the TPS designation for Haiti, which will terminate on July 22, 2019. About 46,000 people will be affected.

Which countries have TPS designations?

The Administration is also considering whether or not to extend TPS to Honduras and El Salvador. Other countries currently on the list include:

  • Nepal
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Sudan
  • Syria
  • Yemen

Do immigrants from TPS countries automatically become citizens?

The nature of the TPS program is temporary.  When a foreign national comes to the U.S. fleeing his or her native country, he or she must apply to become a lawful permanent resident. If the immigrant is granted LPR status, he or she does not have to leave the country even if the designation is later removed.

In other words, a TPS designation is given to protect people for a limited time. If you want to stay in the U.S. permanently, you must complete the same process just like everyone else who wishes to come to America.

What happens to the Nicaraguan nationals after the deadline expires?

Nicaraguan nationals who have not pursued citizenship or LPR status will be forced to leave the U.S. by Jan. 5, 2019. If they do not leave or cannot satisfactorily prove that they are undergoing the process to change their immigration status, they will likely face removal or deportation by ICE.

If you have questions about Temporary Protected Status, or if you are facing removal, contact Nashville immigration lawyer Perry A. Craft. To schedule a meeting or consultation, please contact the Law Office of Perry A. Craft PLLC, or call 615-953-3808.