TPS – A Program that Protects Thousands of Immigrants
The US immigration system is quite broad and has different branches that may suit many immigrant communities. For instance, this North American nation, being a first world country and a world power, has sufficient resources to offer international protection to the foreign populations that need it most.
Therefore, one of the most important branches of the local immigration system is related to humanitarian programs such as political asylum and refugee status, as well as relief from deportation programs for immigrants currently residing in the US undocumented. Such is the case with TPS (Temporary Protected Status).
TPS is a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants from different countries, who are currently living in the US but do not necessarily have legal documentation, from deportation. To be eligible for TPS, applicants must be nationals of countries previously designated by DHS (Department of Homeland Security).
In other words, the Secretary of DHS has the power and authority to designate certain countries for TPS and also establish the duration of the permit, which may vary between 6, 12 and 18 months with the possibility of multiple extensions. Countries designated for TPS are usually territories experiencing risky situations such as ongoing armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters or other extraordinary conditions. Through TPS, DHS protects nationals of such countries since deporting them from the US could pose an imminent threat to their safety and integrity.
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Several countries have been designated for TPS under the Biden administration
Democratic President Joe Biden took office on January 20, 2021, and since then, current DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has extended and designated or re-designated several countries for TPS.
Let’s take a look at the most recent actions by Biden’s DHS regarding TPS:
In late January 2021, before leaving office, but with Biden already as President of the US, the former DHS Secretary extended and re-designated TPS for Syrian nationals for 18 months, until September 2022.
This decision allowed approximately 6,700 and 1,800 eligible Syrians to extend their TPS and submit an initial application, respectively.
In early March, Secretary Mayorkas designated Venezuela for TPS for 18 months, allowing Venezuelan nationals currently residing in the US to have protection from deportation.
This decision allowed approximately 320,000 eligible Venezuelans to submit their initial TPS application.
Also in early March, Secretary Mayorkas designated Myanmar (Burma) for TPS, stating that conditions in this country are extremely risky and dangerous for nationals deported from the US.
In May 2021, Secretary Mayorkas designated Haiti for TPS for 18 months again. It is important to clarify that Haitian nationals had protection in the US under this immigration benefit from January 2010 until January 2018, when the Trump administration terminated Haiti’s TPS.
In early July, Secretary Mayorkas extended and re-designated TPS for Yemeni nationals for 18 months, until March 2023.
This decision allows approximately 1,700 and 480 eligible Yemenis to extend their TPS and submit an initial application, respectively.
In mid-July, Secretary Mayorkas extended and re-designated TPS for Somali nationals for 18 months, until March 2023.
This decision allows approximately 447 and 100 eligible Somalis to extend their TPS and submit an initial application, respectively.
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