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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.