Up to 150,000 Haitians living in the United States may now be able to benefit from the government's newest temporary protected status (TPS) designation, an 18-month classification designed for those already living in the U.S. as of May 21, 2021.
TPS for Haitians has been litigated in the Courts for the last few years.
Haiti originally received a TPS designation in 2010 after the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred there, but after being extended a few times, the Trump administration attempted to end it by July 22, 2019. However, due to multiple lawsuits challenging the termination, it has never taken effect.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas' announcement now puts the fears of nearly 50,000 current Haitian TPS recipients to rest, and gives hope to the almost 100,000 more Haitians who may be eligible to apply for this present TPS iteration. Secretary Mayorkas stated that the new designation was put in place because of the “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources” exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which Haiti has been experiencing.
Important Things to Know:
- This TPS designation only applies to those Haitian nationals who were already living in the United States as of May 21, 2021.
- The designation will last for 18 months, and will be effective upon the Federal Register Notice being published (which has not happened yet).
- When applying through USCIS you will need:
- Evidence to prove your identity and nationality;
- Evidence to prove your date of entry into the United States;
- Evidence to prove your residence in the United States; and
- Court disposition records (if you were ever arrested, charged, or convicted for a criminal offense).
What if I Already Received Temporary Protected Status as a Haitian?
- If you already have a TPS classification as a Haitian national, you will need to reapply for this present designation. This is to make sure that you do not lose TPS or experience a gap in coverage.
What Could Disqualify Me from Temporary Protected Status?
Criminal history and other grounds could disqualify one for TPS including:
- Two misdemeanor convictions or one felony conviction.
- Inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act, such as criminal activity, controlled substance violations, immigration fraud or terrorist and national security related grounds.
- Any mandatory bars that apply to asylum, such as firm resettlement in a third country.
If you have criminal convictions or believe that one of the other grounds might apply to your case, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
What Will Temporary Protected Status Give Me?
- TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to permanent resident status (unless adjustment of status is granted on an immigration petition). However, TPS beneficiaries, or people who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS:
- Are not removable from the United States;
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD); and
- May be granted travel authorization.
Once granted TPS, an individual also cannot be detained by the Department of Homeland Security on the basis of his or her immigration status in the United States.
If you have questions about applying for TPS, please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.