Over the last 3 months, America’s television screens have been filled with images of Ukrainian mothers and their children in terrified flight from Russia’s invasion. Whether any of these refugees have reached the United States is unclear, but there can be little doubt that a number of foreign citizens in the United States cannot return to their homelands because of political conflict or natural disasters.
Many are wondering if they have any recourse to remain in America. The answer is a reassuring “Yes” if their home countries have been designated as what is known as “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS).
What is TPS?
United States Immigration law gives the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to designate certain countries where unsafe or dangerous conditions prevent that country’s citizens from returning safely. The Secretary may grant a country TPS if any of the following conditions exist:
- Ongoing armed conflict, such as a civil war
- An environmental disaster
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
During a designated period for the country in question, individuals who have received temporary TPS designation:
- May not be removed from the United States
- Are able to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)
- May be granted travel authorization status
Once a person receives TPS status, that person cannot be detained by DHS based on the person’s immigration status.
TPS is temporary
While the grant of TPS may seem like a life-saving event to the recipient, anyone receiving TPS should remember that the designation is only temporary. It does not bestow any permanent resident status or lead to any status that might lead to resident status.
Advice from an immigration attorney
Anyone interested in obtaining TPS status may wish to consult an experienced immigration attorney for advice.