Temporary protected status, or TPS, has helped thousands of individuals obtain protection in the US for a certain amount of time. This status is only temporary, as stated in the name, which is why the rules and processes for TPS-designated countries are constantly changing.
A foreign country may be designated for TPS if its conditions temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or the country cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals. As such, a country may be designated for TPS based on one or more of the following statutory grounds:
- Ongoing armed conflict
- Environmental disasters
- Extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a TPS designation period, preliminarily eligible beneficiaries get the following benefits:
- They are not removable from the United States
- They can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- They may be authorized to travel
With this in mind, we want to explain some recent developments in US immigration rules for TPS beneficiaries in Haiti and Burma (Myanmar).
TPS Haiti Extension
Haiti is experiencing security issues, social unrest, increasing human rights violations, rampant poverty, and a lack of basic necessities. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened these extraordinary and temporary conditions.
For these reasons, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced a new 18-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti on May 22, 2021. This means that eligible Haitian nationals and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti as of May 21, 2021, can file an initial application for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
An upcoming Federal Register notice on TPS Haiti will include specific dates for the designation period and instructions on the TPS application, so keep an eye out for updates by clicking here. Keep in mind that current beneficiaries of Haiti’s TPS designation must file a new application to ensure they do not lose TPS status or experience a gap in coverage. Currently, existing TPS Haiti beneficiaries can retain their TPS and TPS-related documents through October 4, 2021, which is subject to extension according to court orders.
Burma Is a Temporary Protected Status Designated Country
As of May 25, 2021, Burma (Myanmar) is designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months due to the “complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country,” according to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. The decision to designate Burma for TPS came after the Secretary consulted with interagency partners about the “continuing violence, pervasive arbitrary detentions, the use of lethal violence against peaceful protesters, and intimidation of the people of Burma,” all of which are caused by the military coup.
The coup has worsened poor humanitarian conditions in various parts of Burma by limiting access to life-saving resources, interfering with flights carrying humanitarian and medical aid, and triggering an economic crisis. Accordingly, Burma is designated for TPS due to these temporary and extraordinary conditions.
Eligible TPS beneficiaries are protected through November 25, 2022, as long as they:
- continuously resided in the US since March 11, 2021; and
- were continuously present in the US since May 25, 2021.
This new TPS designation only extends to Burmese nationals and individuals without nationality who last resided in Burma. An upcoming Federal Register notice on the eligibility criteria is coming soon, but in the meantime, click here for more information.
Venezuela Designated for Temporary Protected Status
On March 8, 2021, Venezuela was designated for Temporary Protected Status for the “extraordinary and temporary conditions” affecting the country. Specifically, Venezuela is suffering a “complex humanitarian crisis marked by widespread hunger and malnutrition, a growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups, repression, and a crumbling infrastructure.” As such, “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” said Secretary Mayorkas.
Effective for 18 months or by September 2022, TPS will be extended to Venezuelan nationals and individuals without nationality who last resided in Venezuela as long as they can demonstrate continuous residence in the US as of March 8, 2021. Individuals must file an application with USCIS within the 180-day registration period and prepare to undergo security and background checks, as with all TPS applications.
Get Legal Counsel on Your Immigration Needs from an Immigrant Attorney
The US is notorious for its ever-changing immigration policies and procedures, making it challenging to keep up with all the new rules. Without a lawyer, the process of obtaining TPS can become frustrating, complex, and ultimately, unsuccessful. That’s why we encourage you to retain Guerra Sáenz, PL to get the effective legal counsel and guidance you need to navigate the TPS process with ease.