Haiti Designated for Temporary Protected Status
Haitian nationals (or individuals who last resided in Haiti) who are currently inside the United States may be able to lawfully remain in the country on what is called “Temporary Protected Status” or “TPS.” On August 3, 2021, a new designation of TPS for Haiti was published in the Federal Register Notice. The designation lasts for 18 months (until February 3, 2023) due to a “deteriorating political crisis, violence, and a staggering increase in human rights abuses. Within this context, as noted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Haiti faces the challenges of “rising food insecurity and malnutrition, [. . .] waterborne disease epidemics, and high vulnerability to natural hazards, all of which have been further exacerbated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”
The Secretary of Homeland Security has the authority to designate countries eligible for TPS if the conditions of the country, like in Haiti, are such that its nationals cannot safely return. Eligible country conditions include ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary temporary conditions. Individuals found to be preliminarily eligible for, or that have already been granted, TPS cannot be deported from the U.S. during the designated TPS period. They can also request an employment authorization document that would allow them to legally work in the United States. To be eligible for TPS, the national (or qualifying resident) must have had continuous residence in the U.S. since July 29, 2021 and have been continuously present in the United States since August 3, 2021. They must apply with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before February 3, 2023.
As its name implies, TPS is only a temporary benefit, though the initial designation period can be extended. TPS does not provide a long-term path to residency in the U.S. For example, TPS beneficiaries cannot apply for green cards (lawful permanent resident status) as a result of receiving TPS. However, receiving TPS will not prohibit them from applying for any other immigration status for which they are independently eligible.
The attorneys at Tanner Law Offices can assist you or your loved ones in the process of seeking Temporary Protected Status. We are experienced in representing clients before the USCIS. Please contact our office at (717) 731-8114 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.