A Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an immigration status granted to select, eligible nationals from designated countries. In the 1990’s, Congress established a way for the Attorney General to grant TPS to immigrants who are unable to immediately return to their country due to security reasons surrounding armed conflict, environmental disaster or other extraordinary safety reasons. In the 2000’s, the power to issue a TPS for any qualifying immigrant was transferred to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service. Many of HRI’s clients have come from countries that are currently listed as TPS designated countries, such as Haiti, Syria, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Liberia, Somalia and Sudan (for specifics on number of qualifying individuals per nation, click here). The conditions upon which individuals from each of these countries qualify for TPS are varied, but -under the Secretary of Homeland Security’s review of country conditions- people who have already been granted TPS recently had an 18 month extension on their TPS designation.
Under TPS, an immigrant is given a work permit, or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) allowing them to work in the United States during the time period listed in their designated TPS. Upon extension of a TPS, most EAD’s are also automatically extended so that these immigrants can continue to support themselves.
Similar to TPS, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is granted to specific designated countries appointed by the President. These immigrants may also receive an EAD until the date listed on their nation’s DED. Recently, President Barack Obama has extended DED for Liberian immigrants until March 31, 2013 which has also extended their EAD is to be able to further support themselves for the next year.