In a previous article (Biden’s American Dream and Promise Bill Passes the U.S. House of Representatives), we discussed President Biden’s Dream and Promise Act which legislation recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives. In that article, we noted that one of the major changes it introduced is a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.
What Is TPS, Again?
In 1990, Congress established TPS for immigrants in the United States who are temporarily unable to return home for a number of reasons. These reasons include; civil unrest, natural disasters, and other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The Secretary of Homeland Security is charged with designating TPS. It provides people who are already in the U.S. at the time of designation a work permit and a stay from deportation. That means they are not subject to deportation proceedings unless and until the TPS designation is terminated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. In October 2020, there were approximately 411,000 TPS recipients residing in the U.S.
Which Countries Are Currently TPS-designated?
The U.S. currently provides TPS to immigrants from twelve countries; Burma, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The Secretary of Homeland Security has discretion to designate TPS for periods of six, twelve, or eighteen months. These periods can be extended if conditions do not improve.
Who Is Eligible for TPS?
In addition to being a national or resident of a TPS-designated country, an immigrant must fulfill three more requirements:
1. Continuous physical presence in the United States since the effective date of TPS designation,
2. Continuous residence in the United States since a date specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and
3. Not being inadmissible to the United States for certain criminal or national security-related reasons (such as having been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors).
How Will President Biden’s Dream and Promise Act Affect TPS if it Becomes Law?
TPS does not provide a path to citizenship under its current form. Under the proposed Dream and Promise Act, however, TPS would provide a path to citizenship for TPS recipients, as long as they have maintained a three-year continuous physical presence in the United States. TPS recipients would be able to apply for a green card, and then for citizenship three years after obtaining a green card.
If you have any questions about whether you qualify for TPS and/or how to apply for TPS, please contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Azita M. Mojarad. Our experienced immigration attorneys stand ready to discuss your concerns and assist you with the application process.