Extension and re-designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) allows individuals from certain countries to remain in the United States if it is unsafe for them to return to their home country due to a humanitarian emergency. It is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a foreign state designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or to eligible persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated foreign state, regardless of their country of birth.
Background for TPS
Haiti was originally designated for TPS in 2010, in the wake of a major earthquake. The designation was extended several times until January 2018, when the Trump Administration announced it would terminate the TPS program for Haitians in 2019. The announced termination continues to be the subject of ongoing challenges in federal court, with temporary extensions granted by court order to affected Haitian nationals through October 4, 2021.
In May of 2021, DHS announced plans to designate Haiti a new for TPS, for all those who have resided in the United States since May 21, 2021. In light of the increasing violence and unrest in Haiti, DHS has broadened the requirements, making eligible Haitians who have resided in the United States since July 29, 2021.
The Biden administration has granted more than 100,000 Haitians living in the United States the chance to apply for work permits and protection from deportation to their home country, which has been devastated by an earthquake, disease outbreaks and widespread violence.
2022 Announcement of TPS for Haiti
On December 5, 2022, the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that Haiti's Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be extended the 2021 TPS progam for Haitians for another 18 months, from February 4, 2023, to August 3, 2024, in response to the extraordinary and temporary conditions in there. He also re-designated Haiti for TPS, enabling Haitian Nationals living in the US as of November 6, 2022, to petition for TPS through August 3, 2024, provided that they meet all eligibility requirements. This means that Haitians entering the United States after November 6, 2022, including those who might be considering entering now are not eligible for TPS and, like other individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States, will be subject to removal.
TPS was extended and resignated after consulting with interagency partners and carefully considering the conditions in Haiti, including a protracted political crisis; severe insecurity and gang crime that worsened a dire economic situation; a lack of access to food, water, fuel, and health care during a resurgence of cholera; and the most recent devastating earthquakes. Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas stated that "We are providing much-needed humanitarian support to Haitian nationals already present in the United States.” He added that “The conditions in Haiti, including socioeconomic challenges, political instability, and gang violence and crime – aggravated by environmental disaster – compelled the humanitarian relief we are providing today.” The move was largely received as good news among Haiti advocates, who worried that repatriations to the Caribbean country would further aggravate conditions in there. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, one of the Democrats spearheading the demand for the TPS extension and redesignation twitted: “This decision will save lives and is the type of compassionate response this moment demands.”
Haitian beneficiaries of the 2021 TPS designation will need to re-register to extend their status and work authorization, and newly eligible Haitians residing in the United States as of November 6, 2022 will need to apply for initial TPS and employment authorization within the designated registration period. Haitian nationals who have been continuously residing in the U.S. since November 6, 2022, and who already have a pending TPS application with DHS do not have to refile at this time. For the time being, no one may apply, even if they arrived before November 6, as DHS must first publish a Federal Register notice describing the application process. According to the DHS announcement, "A soon-to-be published Federal Register notice will explain the eligibility criteria, timelines, and procedures necessary for current beneficiaries to re-register and renew Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), as well as for new applicants to submit an initial application under the redesignation and apply for an EAD."
TPS program is not ending as it is a form of immigration relief created by federal law. The law allows the federal government to "designate" certain countries for TPS based upon country conditions. However, each country has a different expiration date for TPS. As a reminder, TPS is temporary, you must look into what your legal options might be and whether you may be eligible for other forms of immigration relief.
TPS has many eligibility requirements. So it is extremely important for Haitians who think they may be eligible to apply to consult a competent and experienced immigration attorney. Email Elizee Law Firm at firstname.lastname@example.org, our skilled immigration lawyers can answer any questions about TPS and guide you through every step of the process.
Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846