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Those with Temporary Protected Status Should Formulate a Plan B

Country by country, immigrants are beginning to lose their membership in the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. It began with Nicaraguans, losing their protections last year. They were followed by 50,000 Haitians, who were granted protection by the program after the country’s earthquake in 2010. Recently, immigrants from El Salvador have lost their temporary protected status granted to them since the damage done to the country’s infrastructure by earthquakes in 2001 has been repaired. On May 6, it was decided that TPS will be eliminated for about 57,000 Honduran immigrants who received their protections nearly 20 years ago. Within the next few years, it is likely that all TPS beneficiaries will lose their status.

The TPS program grants people who entered the United States legally or illegally the lawful status to remain and work in the country. It was meant to protect these people from facing poor conditions in their country of origin due to natural disasters, war, violence, or other issues that threaten their lives.

Salvadorans were given from January 18, 2018, through March 19, 2018, to re-register for the program if they already had TPS. The program is set to terminate officially, though, on September 9, 2019, which would force nearly 200,000 immigrants out of the country. The next round of immigrants fearing the loss of their status includes those from Nepal, who received TPS after the devastating 2015 earthquake. The Department of Homeland Security announced recently that it would soon cancel the TPS program for around 9,000 Nepali immigrants. The government will allow immigrants one year to prepare to leave the country, but after June 24, 2019, they will be deported.

Today many immigrants who entered the United States are facing deportation and removal than in recent years, there are still steps that one can take in order to remain in the country. For those who are protected under TPS, it is important to have a backup plan before the government decides to lift these protections to prevent having to leave and potentially being separated from family members. Every immigrant protected by TPS—legal or illegal—should review their immigration history and make themselves aware of how they may be able to legally remain in the United States. Some options include:

  • Re-register for TPS. Before TPS is completely abolished, it is important that recipients continue to maintain their status by re-registering with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Obtaining a green card. While TPS does not automatically make an immigrant eligible to receive a green card—a permanent residency status—there are other options that may qualify someone. These include marriage to a U.S. citizen, a job offer through which an employer provides sponsorship or a grant of asylum.
  • Avoid traveling outside the U.S. This is especially true for those who had entered illegally, but were granted TPS afterward, or for those who may have ever violated another immigration policy such as remaining in the country past their visa’s expiration date. While there are forms that allow one with TPS to travel, an immigrant can still be deemed inadmissible to the country upon re-entry.

If you or someone you love is protected by TPS, it is critical that you begin planning for the time that these protections may no longer exist. Whether through preparing for deportation or applying for a green card, having experienced legal representation on your side may help you avoid violating the United States’ complex immigration rules. The New York immigration lawyers of Bretz & Coven, LLP have handled many cases and may be able to help you achieve your ideal immigration outcome. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (212)-267-2555.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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