York Temporary Protected Status Attorney
Helping Vulnerable Clients Maintain Their TPS Status and Benefits
When a nation experiences a dangerous catastrophe, its citizens can be placed at imminent risk. Sometimes, citizens of those countries will make their way to the United States in pursuit of a better life. Should conditions in their home country deteriorate, their removal from the U.S. could represent a significant danger to their lives.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a classification that gives such foreign nationals temporary permission to live and work in the United States. Authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the distinction is granted to individuals who cannot safely return home as a result of some sort of temporary, dangerous crisis.
The Department of Homeland Security can institute a TPS for countries experiencing:
- Continuing armed conflict (such as an invasion or civil war)
- Environment catastrophes, such as earthquakes or floods
- Any other temporary crisis that could overwhelmingly endanger returning citizens
Benefitting from TPS is one way you may be able to avoid being removed from the United States as a result of your immigration status. Our York Temporary Protected Status lawyer at The Law Office of Rosina C. Stambaugh can evaluate whether you may qualify for TPS and work to ensure officials are honoring your benefits, which, among other things, protect you from deportation.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for TPS?
In order to qualify for TPS benefits, the Secretary of DHS must either give your country of origin the TPS designation. However, simply being a citizen of an impacted country does not automatically entitle you to TPS benefits.
Never assume you benefit from TPS. In addition to being a national from a designated country, you must have continuously lived in the United States in the time since a specified “designation date” and registered for TPS status within a specified window of time.
Remember, you must have maintained a continuous physical presence in the United States since your country’s designation date. That means for a national from Nepal, for example, you would need to have already been present and continued to be present in the U.S. since 6/24/2015 or earlier. Our York Temporary Protected Status attorney can establish your eligibility and make sure your status is current.
What Are the Benefits of TPS?
TPS confers powerful benefits to registered beneficiaries who meet the eligibility requirements. Most critically, TPS holders may not be deported from the country as a result of their immigration status. This is by design: TPS is meant to help foreign nationals from being returned to their home countries experiencing a dangerous and temporary crisis. TPS benefits work to permit impacted individuals to live and work in the United States until it is safe to return.
In addition to temporary immunity from removal proceedings, TPS holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization documents (EAD), meaning they can, in many cases, gain meaningful employment for the duration of their stay in the United States. TPS beneficiaries can also obtain authorization for travel into and out of the country.
There are no limitations on where TPS holders can live in the United States. Thousands of TPS beneficiaries choose to live in metropolitan areas in practically every corner of the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Do TPS Benefits Expire?
Yes, though they last for at least several years in a grand majority of circumstances and can be extended as the situation demands. TPS benefits only last as long as the designation period for a given country. Should your benefits expire, you will be expected to leave the United States. Otherwise, you will begin accruing unlawful presence that can make future legal immigration more challenging.
The Secretary of DHS can elect to extend a designation period for a given country at any time. They are required to publish a decision, one way or the other, at least 60 days before a designation period is set to expire. Extensions can be made in 6, 12, or 18-month increments. Should the Secretary choose not to extend a designation, you will have a 60-day window to make preparations to depart the country.
The decision on whether to extend TPS designations is meant to reflect the evolving situation in the affected country. If the inciting situation – a civil war or a tsunami, for example – has measurably improved, the Secretary is unlikely to extend the designation. If the situation has stagnated or worsened – say, if an armed conflict remains ongoing or critical services following a natural disaster have not been restored – an extension may be warranted. In theory, the goal is to avoid sending foreign nations back to a dangerous situation, though political machinations can sometimes appear to interfere with the law’s intentions.
It is worth noting that even if a TPS designation is extended, the extension does not open up the country’s nationals to new beneficiaries. In other words, the original designation date still stands: You cannot apply for TPS benefits unless you have arrived in the country before and maintained continuous presence since the original designation date. Extensions consequently only apply to those who already have TPS benefits for that country.
With all of that said, pending litigation has rendered the fallout of an expired TPS designation murky. Lawsuits are still working through the court process objecting to the expiration of TPS designations for Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Early court injunctions have automatically extended each of these countries’ expirations to at least 1/4/2021. It is unclear how the lawsuits might resolve or if additional suits will be filed to fight scheduled expirations for the remaining TPS designations.
Our Team Can Help You with Temporary Protected Status
TPS shields many foreign nationals from deportation proceedings and can potentially be used as a defense in attempted removal proceedings. Remember, if you are a registered TPS holder, you cannot legally be deported. Please contact my office to see if you are eligible to apply or renew. We can confirm your eligibility and status and fight to protect your rights. Our team can also assist qualifying TPS holders in Adjusting Status to pursue more permanent legal immigration options. We understand the stakes involved in every immigration case, which is why we strive to give each of our clients the individualized and empathetic attention they deserve, no matter the complexity of their situation.