Immigration Announces Automatic Extension for Temporary Protected Status for Haiti
By Patricia Elizee, Esq.,
On September 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced the automatic extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS). The automatic extension of TPS-related documentation includes Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) through Dec. 31, 2022. It is important to note that this automatic extension is for immigrants who already have TPS. Eligible Haitians who resided in the United States as of July 29, 2021, are strongly encouraged to apply for Haiti TPS under the new designation. This will ensure their TPS will continue if the courts end their injunctions. Current beneficiaries under Haiti TPS do not need to pay a fee or file any application to maintain their TPS and have their TPS-related documentation automatically extended through Dec. 31, 2022.
Currently, there are about 55,000 Haitians that have had TPS since 2010 or 2011. Their TPS expires on October 4, 2021. This group of individuals must file a new application under this new designation to retain their status. Immigration estimates that another 100,000 Haitians will qualify to file as first-time applicants.
Requirements for the 18-month TPS:
· Be a national of a country designated for TPS, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country.
· File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or you meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country’s TPS designation
· Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country; and
· Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States since the date specified for your country.
· The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States.
· When you apply or re-register for TPS, you must inform USCIS of all absences from the United States since the CPP and CR dates. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
Due to deteriorating conditions in Haiti, Secretary Mayorkas previously stated “After careful consideration, we determined that we do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may return home.” The 2010 earthquake has also played a major role in the announcement of the new TPS given the fact that Haiti is still rebuilding, and conditions are not safe for certain Haitian nationals to return back to their homes. Back in 2011, the TPS was extended to Haitian Nationals due to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the country. Soon after, the TPS was once again extended for an additional 18 months in 2013 and 2015 as well as an additional 6 months in 2017.
Unfortunately, not all Haitian nationals will qualify under this new condition. Those who are already residing in the United States as of July 29, 2021, will qualify as long as the eligibility requirements have been met. Those who come to the US after the announcement, will not be eligible and may be sent back to their home country. The new order has many benefits to those who qualify.
The following will restrict eligibility to TPS:
· Have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors committed in the United States.
· Are found inadmissible as an immigrant under applicable grounds in INA section 212(a), including non-waivable criminal and security-related grounds
· Are subject to any of the mandatory bars to asylum. These include, but are not limited to, participating in the persecution of another individual or engaging in or inciting terrorist activity
· Fail to meet the continuous physical presence and continuous residence in the United States requirements
· Fail to meet initial or late initial TPS registration requirements; or
· If granted TPS, you fail to re-register for TPS, as required, without good cause.
The Federal Register previously announced on July 22, 2019, that the TPS for Haiti will be terminated. However, due to multiple lawsuits, the TPS will remain in effect for pending cases. DHS highly recommends that individuals subject to these lawsuits, meaning Haitians with TPS since 2010 or 2011, should file as first-time applicants under the new program, and not file for an extension of their current TPS.
If you believe you may qualify under this new TPS announcement, please contact our office to set up a consultation with Patricia Elizee at (305) 371-8846