Posts Tagged ‘TPS’

Senators Continue to Pressure DHS and DOS to Grant TPS to Filipino Nationals

Friday, March 14th, 2014

A bipartisan group of 19 senators sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging that the State Department (DOS) recommend the Philippines for temporary protected status (TPS) designation as a result of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan three months ago. DOS is part of interagency discussions underway about whether to grant TPS.  A similar congressional letter was sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in November, and the government of the Philippines formally requested TPS designation in December.

The senators note that more than 6,000 people were killed in the storm, that more than one million homes in the Philippines were damaged or destroyed, and that more than four million people were displaced. In total, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 16 million people in the Philippines were affected by Typhoon Haiyan – nearly one out of six people in the country.

The United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of nine countries.  The senators cite several instances in which the U.S. granted TPS to citizens of other countries that have been struck by severe natural disasters, including Honduran and Nicaraguan citizens after Hurricane Mitch in 1999; Salvadorans after the 2001 earthquakes; and Haitian nationals after the 2010 earthquake.  Other countries have been granted TPS or DED as a result of civil unrest, including Liberia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Syria. Noting that the situation in the Philippines meets the statutory requirements for granting TPS as the law was applied to these other countries, the senators request equal consideration to the Philippines.

While under the immigration laws, the executive branch grants TPS or relief from removal, Congress has also provided TPS legislatively. Indeed, legislation that would grant TPS to Filipinos (H.R. 3602, the Filipino Temporary Protected Status Act of 2013) has already been introduced.

News in Brief…

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The following  may be of interest to our readers:

TPS Designation Extended for Somalia: DHS extended the designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from 03/18/14 through 09/17/15, with a 60-day re-registration period running from 10/31/13 through 12/30/13.

$34 Million Settlement in Infosys Case, Largest Ever for Immigration Violations:  A $34 million settlement was reached between the DOJ and Infosys Limited, an Indian corporation involved in consulting, technology, and outsourcing, in a civil suit alleging systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes. The settlement is the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

CBP Seizing Foreign Passports: There have been reports of CBP seizing foreign nationals’ foreign passport and permanent resident cards when the LPR is referred for removal proceedings. While CBP has the right to seize the permanent resident card, since the card is issued by the U.S. government, questions are raised about CBP’s legal authority to seize a foreign passport because it is the property of the foreign government.  Stay tuned.

Unreasonable Stops at the Border: A settlement agreement was reached in October between the ACLU and an advocacy organization in a lawsuit challenging the Border Patrol’s practice of conducting or participating in vehicle stops on the Olympic Peninsula without required reasonable suspicion. While the agreement did not require the Border Patrol to admit to specific wrongdoing, the Border Patrol acknowledged and reiterated the standard for constitutionally protected vehicle stops made in non–border search situations:  officers must have reasonable suspicion of a violation of law. To be reasonable, the suspicion must be based on articulable facts constituting objectively valid reasons for an agent to suspect that the particular individual may be involved in wrongdoing. Just because a vehicle is in an area near an international border, that circumstance doesn’t establish the reasonable suspicion necessary to justify a vehicle stop.

More Countries Considered for Global Entry:  CBP announced in August that it would be expanding Global Entry to a number of additional countries. The program recently became fully operational with South Korea. CBP is currently working with the governments of Germany, Qatar, and the U.K. to expand the program; it is also working to initiate additional pilot programs with Saudi Arabia, Panama, India, and Israel. Global Entry permits frequent visitors from a country to be pre-screened and vetted, which expedites their admission upon arrival to the United States.

 

Modest Immigration Relief Measures Offered by USCIS to Filipinos Affected by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda); Philippines Government Requests TPS Designation

Friday, January 10th, 2014

In the aftermath of the typhoon that struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, USCIS has advised that Filipino nationals affected by the typhoon may be eligible to benefits from the following immigration relief measures:

  • Change or extension of nonimmigrant status even when the individual request is filed after the authorized period of      admission has expired;
  • Extension or re-parole of individuals previously granted parole by USCIS;
  • Extension of certain grants of advance parole, and expedited processing of advance parole requests;
  • Expedited adjudication of off-campus employment authorization applications for F-1 students experiencing severe economic hardship;
  •  Expedited processing of immigrant petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs);
  • Expedited adjudication of employment authorization applications; and
  • Assistance to LPRs stranded overseas without their green cards or travel documents.

On December 13, the government of the Philippines formally requested Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation status for its nationals currently in the U.S. for 18 months. The Philippines’ request will have to be evaluated by U.S. authorities and may take some time before it is implemented.

News In Brief

Friday, August 30th, 2013

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers:

TPS Extended for Eligible Nationals from Syria: USCIS has extended the existing designation of Syria for TPS for 18 months, from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2015, due to the ongoing armed conflict in Syria. USICS has also extended to March 31, 2015, the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant students whose country of citizenship is Syria and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Syria.

Majority of DACA Cases Approved: USCIS statistics on DACA cases indicate that almost 90 percent of all cases adjudicated thus far have been approved.  Of the 365,000 cases approved, about 3,800 have been denied.

Florida, Mississippi, and Idaho Participate in RIDE Program:
Idaho now joins Mississippi and Florida in participating in a program
called the RIDE (Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify) program, an initiative through which E-Verify is able to confirm information from drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.

DOJ Enters into Memorandum of Understanding with NLRB: The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) of the Justice Department recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), formalizing a collaborative relationship that allows both agencies to share information, refer matters to each other, and coordinate investigations as appropriate. OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibit citizenship-status and national-origin discrimination in hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, and discriminatory Form I-9 and E-Verify practices. The NLRB is an independent agency that protects the rights of most private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve
their wages and working conditions.

News In Brief: E Visa Processing Now Available in Calgary; DACA Statistical Update; TPS Extended for Eligible Nationals from Honduras, Nicaragua; DED Extended for Liberians Khartoum, Sudan Resumes Full Consular Services

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

E Visa Processing Now Available in Calgary: The Calgary Consulate General has introduced E visa processing services from businesses in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Northwest Territories of Canada.  The consulate also has streamlined its procedures in an effort to encourage more cross-border trade and investment. First-time E visa applicants can schedule a visa appointment in 10 business days; employees of registered E visa enterprises and dependents of E visa holders can schedule appointments the next business day and will need only to provide minimal documentation at the time of their visa interview.  Qualified applicants will generally receive their visa in three to five business days after the interview. E visa processing is also available (and remains unchanged) at the U.S. consulates in Toronto and Vancouver serving businesses in those regions of Canada.

DACA Statistical Update: As of March 14, 2013, USCIS reports that more than 450,000 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications have been received by the agency and almost 250,000 cases have been approved.

TPS Extended for Eligible Nationals from Honduras, Nicaragua; DED Extended for Liberians: USCIS has extended the designation of Honduras and Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months from July 6, 2013, through January 5, 2015. Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and work authorization of certain Liberians has been extended from April 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014.

Khartoum  Resumes Full Consular Services:  As of March 25, 2013, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, will resume full consular services, including nonimmigrant visa (NIV) processing, and follow-to-join refugee/asylee processing.

 

TPS for Somalians Extended and Redesignated Through March 17, 2014

Friday, July 27th, 2012

In May, DHS announced that it was extending the existing designation of Somalia for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months – from September 18, 2012 through March 17, 2014 – and redesignating Somalia for TPS for 18 months, effective September 18, 2012 through March 17, 2014. The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain their TPS through March 17, 2014. The redesignation of Somalia allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since May 1, 2012, to obtain TPS, if eligible. DHS has determined that an extension is warranted because the conditions in Somalia that prompted the TPS designation continue to be met: “There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in Somalia based upon ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in that country that prevent Somalis who now have TPS from safely returning.”

TPS Announced for Syrian Nationals; Certain Requirements for Syrian Foreign Students Relaxed

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Citing the violent upheaval and deteriorating situation in Syria, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that eligible nationals from Syria (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria) are now eligible for temporary protected status (TPS) effective March 29, 2012 through September 30, 2013. The application period is March 29 through September 25, 2012.  Like other TPS beneficiaries, eligible nationals will be allowed to remain in the United States and obtain work authorization.

DHS also announced the suspension of certain regulatory requirements for Syrian F-1 students so that they may obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status due to the current events in Syria.

News in Brief

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers:

Online “Self-Check” of Employment Eligibility Status for Workers: USCIS has expanded access of its free online “Self Check” service that allows workers to check their employment eligibility status, entering the same information that employers enter into E-Verify.  The service also provides guidance on how to correct DHS and SSA records, which the individual can do prior to the hiring process. The service is available in English and Spanish.  For more information, see www.uscis.gov/selfcheck.

DOJ Employee Rights and Employer Guidance: The Department of Justice (DOJ)  recently issued two rights-oriented reminders for employees whose employer uses the E-Verify system, and for employers who are subject to an ICE audit.  They are available at www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc.

TPS Extended for Eligible Nationals from El Salvador: USCIS announced an 18-month extension of El Salvador’s TPS designation through September 9, 2013. The 60-day TPS re-registration period is open until March 12, 2012; work authorization documents (EADs) are automatically extended for current TPS beneficiaries until September 9, 2012. See http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/template.PRINT/menuitem.5af9b.

News in Brief: DV Lottery Now Open; Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Liberians; Haitians are Reminded to File for TPS; TPS for South Sudanese

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The following additional items may be of interest to our readers:

Diversity Visa “Lottery” Now Open Through 11/5/2011: The 2013 Diversity Visa Program or visa lottery registration period is now opened through noon on November 5, 2011. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov. The Department of State advises applicants to register before the last week of the registration period when heavy demand may result in website delays. Under the program, visas are made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Deferred Enforced Departure Extended for Liberians until 3/31/2013; Work Authorization Extended to 3/31/2012:  USCIS announced that it will automatically extend the validity of employment authorization documents for Liberians covered under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) through March 31, 2012. The announcement follows President Obama’s decision to extend DED for Liberians until March 13, 2013.

Haitians are Reminded to File for TPS: Eligible nationals of Haiti (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) are reminded to file for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which currently remains in effect through January 22, 2013.  Individuals who have not yet applied may do so through November 15, 2011.  Individuals who already applied but whose applications were still pending as of May 19, 2011 need not file a new application. In mid August, USCIS auto-extended employment authorization documents (EAD)  through January 22, 2012.  For more details on whose EADs were extended and on the program in general, see http://1.usa.gov/haitian-tps.

DHS Designates South Sudan for TPS:  DHS has designated the new Republic of South Sudan (South Sudan) for TPS for a period of 18 months, effective November 3, 2011 through May 2, 2013. This designation allows eligible South Sudan nationals (and aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in that region) who have continuously resided in the U.S. since October 7, 2004 to obtain TPS. In addition to demonstrating continuous residence, applicants for TPS under this designation must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since November 3, 2011.

Hondurans and Nicaraguans Eligible to Re-Register for TPS Must Do So By July 5, 2010; Haitians Must Register by July 20, 2010

Friday, June 25th, 2010

In May, USCIS extended temporary protected status (TPS) designations for Honduras and Nicaragua for 18 months, effective July 6, 2010 through January 5, 2012, and announced that the 60-day re-registration period runs from May 5, 2010 through July 5, 2010. Accordingly, eligible Hondurans and Nicaraguans must re-register by July 5, 2010 in order to maintain TPS status.  Re-registration, however, is limited to persons who already registered for TPS under the previous designations and whose applications have been granted or remain pending. Certain nationals of Honduras and Nicaragua (or those having no nationality who last habitually resided in those countries) who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions. USCIS announced that new employment authorization documents (EADs) with a January 5, 2012 expiration date would be issued to eligible TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs.  But, given the timeframes involved with processing these applications, all re-registrants may not receive new EADs until after their current EADs expire on July 5, 2010 and thus USCIS is automatically extending the validity of current EADs for 6 months, or through January 5, 2011.

Questions about verification of employment authorization arise when an individual’s EAD has expired. Can, for example, such a TPS beneficiary use his or her expired card for I-9 employment authorization purposes? Yes. USCIS specifically advises that individuals whose EAD is automatically extended under these rules can still use their expired EAD for I-9 employment verification purposes with their employers. USCIS recommends that such employees provide the employer with a copy of the Federal Register notice stating the automatic extension of the EAD. However, if an auto-extended, TPS-based EAD is presented to an employer, the employer will be required to re-verify employment authorization on the I-9 form at the end of the automatic EAD extension period, or January 5, 2011.  At that time, the employee will be required to present the new TPS-related EAD containing an updated, valid expiration date, or any other acceptable document evidencing employment authorization.

In granting the extension of TPS, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had determined that the conditions that prompted TPS designation in 1999 following the environmental disaster caused by Hurricane Mitch persist and prevent Honduras and Nicaragua from adequately handling the return of its nationals. There are approximately 66,000 nationals of Honduras and 3,000 nationals of Nicaragua (and people having no nationality who last habitually resided in Honduras or Nicaragua) who may be effected and eligible for re-registration. TPS does not, however, apply to such nationals who entered the United States after December 30, 1998.

Meanwhile, Haitian nationals who have continuously resided in the United States since January 12, 2010 and who meet other TPS eligibility requirements must file their first time TPS registration applications no later than July 20, 2010. TPS was granted to eligible Haitian nationals in January in response to the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated much of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. TPS designation for Haiti will remain in effect through July 22, 2011.

USCIS advises that by early April it received almost 45,000 Haitian TPS application packages; however, more than 10% were rejected. The most common reasons for rejection include: (1) inappropriate fees or a fee waiver request; (2) missing biographical information; (3) lack of signatures on forms; and (4) filing an incorrect form.