Category: Withholding of Removal

TPS

Got Options? How to Deal with President Trump’s Inhumane Stance on Haiti.

I volunteered yesterday at Catholic Charities’ clinic on Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The Trump Administration decided to extend such protection for six months, ending in January of next year. I keep getting questions on what might happen in January 2018, and honestly, I do not know. We were working under the assumption yesterday that the protection will not be extended past that date.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary protected status or TPS, is a protection that the United States government has used to stop the removal of citizens of countries that have experienced a civil war, national disasters, or other humanitarian crisis that would hinder a national’s ability to return to his or her country. For example, the Obama Administration designated Syria in 2012 for its civil war, and Syrian nationals will not be returning to Syria for the foreseeable future. Consecutive administrations have designated several countries, and Haiti was designated in 2010, following the 2010 earthquake which has left the country in ruins.

What is Redesignation?

Redesignation is the process used by the US government to redesignate a country for TPS, if the humanitarian crisis persists. Haiti has been redesignated for at least one year since its original designation. However, the Trump Administration, as mentioned above, redesignated the country for an additional six months only. We do not know what prompted the short duration.

What Should You Do if You are a Citizen of Haiti?

I believe that citizens of Haiti should apply for the renewal of TPS if they qualify for the redesignation. However, doing so comes at a high cost, which could be more than $500 and would only be for a very limited duration. In some instances, the renewal would not be adjudicated before the designation expires, which would mean that applying might mean that you lost out of more than $500, which most people could certainly not afford.

What are Your Other Options?

I have met with several Haitians who have numerous options of which they do not know. I have spoken to potential clients who have potential claims to permanent residence through their relatives. Some of the possible options are below:

  1. Permanent Residence: Several individuals have potential claims to permanent residence through their relatives. Some of these potential clients have children, for example, that are US citizens. If the latter is above 21 years of age, they may be able to petition for their relatives.
  2. Asylum: Many of the individuals with whom I have met also have bona fide asylum claims because of threats they have received because of their circumstances. I met someone who has received such threats because of his work at an orphanage for example. There are other basis to apply for asylum, and you should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your options.
  3. Withholding of Removal: Man individuals who have been here since the earthquake may not be able to apply for asylum because of they missed the one-year deadline and may be able to apply for this form of relief, unless they fall under an exception.
  4. Deferred Action: I have also met with several individuals who may be able to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). You should also consult with an immigration attorney to discuss this option.

I do believe that the six month extension is inhumane. What do you think?

Call us today at 1(888)963-7326 to discuss your options.

Fifth Circuit Rules that Expedited Removal Applies to All Aliens

In a decision issued last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that expedited removal under INA 238 applies to all aliens. INA 238 allows the expedited removal of any alien who is confined in a correctional institution and convicted of an aggravated felony. Under the statute the Department of Homeland Security must issue a Notice of Intent to proceed through expedited proceedings. The alien may apply for Withholding of Removal under the Torture Convention if he has a fear of returning to his country.
Valdiviez-Hernandez was under investigation for allegedly using someone else’s identity and social security number. ICE found a firearm in his house for which he was convicted as an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. The Service initiated expedited removal proceedings and he refused to sign the Notice. He also failed to respond to the allegations. The immigration judge denied his request for Withholding of Removal and he appealed. He argued that he was not subject to expedited removal since he was not admitted to the United States since he entered the United States illegally. The court rejected this argument and followed other circuits ruling that nothing in the statute limits these proceedings to lawfully admitted aliens. The court thus denied the petition for review and upheld the removal order. 
The argument that Valdiviez-Hernandez was not subject to expedited removal because he was not admitted was doomed from the beginning since the statute clearly expands these proceedings to legal and illegal aliens. The better argument would have been a challenge to the procedure on Due Process grounds. I will follow this case to see if Valdiviez-Hernandez files a petition for rehearing en banc