How Temporary Protected Status Can Stop Immigrants from Being Forced to Return to War Zones or Disaster Areas

How Temporary Protected Status Can Stop Immigrants from Being Forced to Return to War Zones or Disaster Areas - Laraine E. Schwartz, Esq.  Immigrants in the United States, who are unable to return to their home countries due to unsafe conditions there, may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) if their country has been designated for TPS by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Countries approved for this status include those experiencing ongoing armed conflicts, environmental or natural disasters (such as hurricanes or earthquakes), or outbreaks of serious disease.

TPS beneficiaries may temporarily remain in the United States and may obtain work authorizations. However, TPS does not lead to permanent resident status, so when a country's TPS designation is ended, this nation’s beneficiaries revert to the same immigration status they held before it was implemented. Accordingly, if an immigrant did not have lawful residency status prior to receiving TPS, and did not obtain lawful status through other means during the designation, the immigrant will revert to unlawful status and may have to return home.

Currently only the following countries have been designated for TPS:

  • El Salvador

  • Haiti

  • Honduras

  • Nicaragua

  • Somalia

  • Sudan

  • Syria

Any immigrant from a designated country may apply for TPS benefits ONLY  if he or she:

  • Establishes the necessary continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States as specified by each designation.

  • Is not barred due to a criminal background.

  • Applies for TPS within the specified time period established at the time the country was first designated for TPS. The timing of the application is most critical.

If you or someone you know is from one of the approved countries, make sure they maintain their TPS status by submitting their renewal applications rather than return home and face physical peril. Note: Travel is permitted outside of the U.S. only with pre-approval for an advance parole document. See an immigration attorney as soon as possible to find out exactly the rules regarding Temporary Protected Status.

Larraine Schwartz, Lobbying for Immigration Reform

Laraine E. Schwartz, Esq.
Winograd and Schwartz Attorneys at Law, PC

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