The United States has granted an immigration status called Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly two decades, beginning in 1990 with the Immigration Act. However, in early 2017, the U.S. State Department sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees the program, and advised that certain groups “no longer need[ed] to be shielded from deportation” in the Secretary’s estimation. While this is not an official revocation of status, it paves the way for what will likely become a revocation. This means that some living under TPS will need to quickly depart lest they face future immigration consequences.
Who Has TPS?
Temporary Protected Status is granted at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security to those nationals who hail from countries where conditions make it impossible to safely return at the time the status is granted—usually due to ongoing war or natural disasters. The status is usually revoked when conditions in the country are deemed to have sufficiently improved. For example, TPS was granted to Rwandans following the 1994 genocide in their country, and was rescinded in 1997 after the country’s political system had stabilized and it was deemed safe to allow nationals to return.
Individually, the major criteria for TPS eligibility, besides being present in the U.S. upon the day the status is granted, are relatively straightforward. The applicant must not be subject to any criminal bars (they may not have participated in persecution, may not have committed aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude in the United States, or be generally inadmissible unless a waiver is available), they must apply at the right time, and they must also maintain the appropriate residence continuously during the TPS grant.
The Problem Going Forward
While nothing has been substantiated regarding any revocations, the proverbial writing is on the wall. Rumors also indicate that Salvadoran recipients might also have their TPS rescinded, despite persistent endemic violence in their country which was largely exported from the United States along with deportees. Though State Department officials disingenuously protest that “no lack of empathy” exists in desiring to send people back to these countries, it cannot be overlooked that the infrastructure in Central America and especially in Haiti is extremely fragile. It also cannot be overlooked that allowing individuals to take root over almost two decades, as many Nicaraguans have done after Hurricane Mitch in 1998, and then abruptly evicting them, is a unique brand of bureaucratic cruelty.
If TPS is revoked, however, it is imperative that (if at all possible) those affected should comply with the directive to leave because if they do not, they will almost certainly be detained for overstaying. TPS is a status under which it is required to leave contact information with DHS—if that information is current, the person can be picked up, and if it is not current, DHS then has standing to issue a warrant and actively search for the person for violating the terms of their status.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
While some will have no good claim to any other immigration status, it is possible that many do have a possible avenue under which to remain without being aware of it. If you have questions or concerns, the dedicated Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC may be able to assist you. Call the office today to set up a free consultation.
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