The United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is allowing Burmese and Haitian nationals to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These nationals, if they meet the specified criteria, will be able to legally reside within the United States so long as they have TPS. However, anyone in the U.S. who hails from Myanmar (the modern name for Burma) or Haiti must apply before the 180 day application window ends, or else miss out on their opportunity.
What is Temporary Protected Status?
Temporary Protected Status, also known as TPS, is an immigration status afforded to people from other countries whose nations of origin are dealing with armed conflict, natural disasters, or other issues that would make returning to their homeland dangerous. TPS allows people from those countries to remain legally in the United States, and to live and work without impediment. As the name suggests, though, TPS only lasts as long as the dangerous conditions in the designated country last, and must either apply for another form of legal immigration or return to their country of origin after it is over.
Why Are Burmese Nationals Being Allowed to Apply for TPS?
Myanmar, which went by the name Burma until 1989, is currently experiencing severe violence as a result of a military coup, which overthrew the democratically elected leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi. The military is in the process of cracking down on political dissidents, in addition to committing violence against racial minorities like the Muslim Rohingya. Given the dangers associated with going back to Myanmar while the violence is ongoing, USCIS chose to issue Temporary Protected Status to ensure they would not be sent back into danger.
Why Are Haitian Nationals Being Allowed to Apply for TPS?
The announcement of TPS status for Haitians extends existing TPS protections that were put into place after a severe earthquake that hit the nation in 2010. The effects of that natural disaster have left the nation with severe economic problems and social unrest that it has yet to recover from. There are also major security concerns, and issues with human rights abuses that have been alleged against the government, making it unsafe for Haitians to return to their country of origin.
What Do You Need to Qualify for TPS?
To obtain TPS, you must first be a member of a country designated by USCIS as eligible for the status. You must also have been physically present for a continuous period and must be physically present in the United States when TPS for the specific country is announced. You must also be able to pass a criminal background check, and must not be convicted of any crimes while benefiting from TPS.
How Do You Apply For TPS?
Applying for TPS benefits can be a complicated process, one that can take months for USCIS to process. In addition, the window to apply for TPS only lasts for 180 days, so if you wait too long, you may miss your opportunity to obtain it. That is why you should contact an immigration lawyer who can help you apply and obtain the legal protection you are rightfully entitled to.
For more than forty years, the Drucker Law Firm has been providing personal and quality legal services to individuals, universities, and corporations throughout the New York City and Tri-State area. We have represented three generations of clients in immigration and nationality matters, as well as personal injury, real estate, and general litigation matters. If you have a legal issue related to immigration law, please give us a call at (718) 458-1489 to schedule a consultation or visit our contact page.