While there is no doubt that some U.S. immigration laws are rather draconian in nature, it's nevertheless important to understand that others are rather humanitarian in nature. By way of example, consider the process by which the Secretary of Homeland Security can officially designate a foreign nation for what is known as temporary protected status.
When temporary protected status -- or TPS -- is conferred on a foreign nation, it is typically done so out of the recognition that 1) citizens cannot return safely to the country for the short-term or 2) conditions are such that the country cannot handle the return of citizens for the short-term.
Some of the scenarios that would cause the Secretary of Homeland Security to take this step include everything from epidemics and environmental catastrophes (hurricanes, earthquakes) to armed conflicts and other "extraordinary and temporary conditions."
Some foreign nations that the DHS has currently designated for TPS include Haiti, Honduras, Somalia, Syria and El Salvador, to name only a few.
Once the DHS takes this step, it also vests U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with the ability to extend TPS to eligible citizens of the nation in question who are currently living here in U.S., as well as those who aren't citizens of the nation in question, but last called it home before moving to the U.S.
TPS beneficiaries are granted the following privileges:
- They cannot be detained by immigration officials based on their immigration status and/or removed from the U.S.
- They may be granted an employment authorization document.
- They may be granted travel authorization.
It's also important to note that even though TPS is a provisional benefit -- meaning it doesn't result in lawful permanent status or any other type of immigration status -- beneficiaries can still file for an adjustment of status, apply for nonimmigrant status, or seek other immigration-related protections or benefits.
We'll continue examining this topic in our next post …
If you have questions or concerns relating to TPS or any other important immigration-related issue, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and your options going forward.