Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Immigration Advocates Urge Congress to Act to Protect Haitian TPS-Holders

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is designed to help immigrants of countries that are temporarily experiencing extraordinary distress, and the Trump Administration has recently announced the end TPS for many countries, including Haiti. Last November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) terminated Haiti’s TPS designation. Steve Forester from the Institute of Justice and Democracy (IJDH) and other immigration advocates decry DHS’ decision and vow to fight for just immigration policy that will keep Haitian families together. Haiti has been reeled by a series natural and man-made disasters in the past eight years, including an uncontrolled cholera epidemic that was introduced by UN peacekeepers in the months following the 2010 Earthquake. Read the full article HERE.

This is what will happen once Temporary Protected Status is revoked for 300K immigrants

By Samantha Grasso, February 4, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 2.44.08 PMEight days into the new year, the Trump administration announced that 200,000 Salvadorans legally living and working in the United States would be forced to leave the country—or, less easily, adjust their legal status—by Sept. 9, 2019. The announcement, made by Kristjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), came in light of a review of El Salvador’s disaster-related conditions that had granted the country, and subsequently its displaced people in the U.S., a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) stay, once every 18 months, over the past two decades.

“By definition, TPS is temporary. It’s meant to be temporary. It’s not meant to be forever,” then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now White House chief of staff, had said of Haitians with TPS in June 2017. “They should start thinking now about what will happen in the not-too-distant future…”

El Salvador was first granted temporary protected status in 2001 after two earthquakes hit the country back to back, resulting in the death and injury of thousands, the destruction of hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings, and the subsequent displacement of 1.6 million Salvadorans. Salvadorans are the largest population currently enrolled in the program.

Haiti and Nicaragua, too, have lost their TPS statuses under the Trump administration, despite these countries mitigating new violence or environmental turmoil, and in some cases, still suffering from the damage that granted them TPS in the first place. Without TPS, hundreds of thousands of people will be forced out of the U.S., leaving behind the homes, businesses, and families—including U.S.-born children—they’ve made in the years they’ve lived in America.

So how does the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) justify removing nationals in 18 months time? And, more vitally, what are TPS recipients and lawmakers able to do to help them stay in the U.S. legally?

What is Temporary Protected Status and under what circumstances do nations and their citizens become protected?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a humanitarian program under U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS. A country is designated with TPS by the DHS secretary, a position currently held by Trump nominee Nielsen. A country with TPS is deemed to possess conditions that temporarily prevent its nationals in the U.S. from returning safely, or is deemed to be unable to handle the return of nationals, according to the DHS TPS website. These “conditions” include ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or epidemic, or other “extraordinary and temporary” circumstances.

The TPS program was created under the Immigration Act of 1990, known as the IMMACT. When a country is designated with TPS, its nationals currently in the U.S. at the time of designation are TPS-eligible but must file paperwork and pay fees, typically $495 in total (the full eligibility requirements and application process are laid out on the TPS website). Once an individual is granted TPS, they can’t be detained or deported for their immigration status. As part of TPS, nationals are able to obtain an employment authorization document that allows them to legally work in the U.S. and can apply for “advance parole” for permission to travel outside of the U.S. TPS requires recipients be vetted with fingerprinting when they apply and each time they reapply for their designation; TPS holders cannot have been convicted of a felony or two-plus misdemeanors in the U.S.

A country’s TPS designation is typically made in increments of six, 12, or maximum 18 months. At least 60 days before a TPS designation is set to expire, the DHS secretary re-evaluates the country’s conditions to see if the status should be renewed. After the evaluation, the secretary announces if TPS for that country has been extended, redesignated, or if it will be ended.

If a country’s designation is extended, only the nationals who already have temporary protected status will continue to be protected. If a country is redesignated, an option can be used to encompass new nationals who have arrived in the U.S. since the last designation. Nationals who were already covered by TPS must also re-apply for their designations and employment authorization, paying the $495 in fees again.

According to Royce Murray, policy director of immigration policy group American Immigration Coalition, there aren’t exact parameters for when TPS “should” be extended versus redesignated, but redesignation has historically happened for countries in which conditions have not improved or have worsened.

If a designation is ended, the DHS secretary may give the country another six, 12, or 18 months for the country’s nationals to get their affairs in order before their protections end. TPS decisions must be made and published in the Federal Register at least 60 days in advance of the expiration date—if not, the country in question gets an automatic six-month TPS extension.

Once TPS has ended, nationals of that country return to whatever immigration status they had before having TPS. TPS doesn’t give recipients a path to citizenship or a green card, but recipients who are eligible can apply for those statuses.

Read the full article HERE.

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