Recent TPS Changes and Why TPS Beneficiaries should Act Now and Apply for U.S. Residency if Eligible
These years with the Trump Administration have been challenging to say the least, and the immigrant community has been suffering more than most others. The most recent blow is directed specifically at the estimated 325,000 individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS)*. These are members of our communities who are lawfully in the U.S. with deep ties in the form of spouses, children, and employment, and most of whom have been here for decades.
Trump has been attacking TPS holders since 2018 when he attempted to end TPS for nationals from many countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras. This termination was challenged by immigrant advocates in the federal court, and until recently, an injunction was in place that prevented the termination of the program. However, on September 14, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, opening up the pathway for Trump to initiate a process to remove the TPS beneficiaries. Although this is likely not the end of the battle – an appeal is expected – it does not bode well for TPS Beneficiaries who must now seek alternatives to remain lawfully in the U.S.
Additionally, on August 20, 2020, USCIS adopted a decision by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) that has far-reaching impact for TPS Beneficiaries. Since the inception of TPS, Beneficiaries have been able to apply for a travel document that, upon return from international travel, they were paroled into the United States. For individuals who had initially entered the U.S. without inspection and who later became eligible for Residency Petitions through certain family members (such as spouses of U.S. Citizens or parents of U.S. Citizens who are at least 21 years old), having entered with a travel document meant that they could apply to become Lawful Permanent Residents without leaving the U.S. This new AAO decision takes away that possibility for future TPS travelers. The only silver lining is that this new AAO order only applies to TPS Beneficiaries who have not departed and returned using a travel document before August 20, 2020. Therefore, if you have TPS and you traveled and entered the U.S. with a travel document before August 20, 2020, you may qualify to apply for adjustment of status (Residency / Green Card) without leaving the U.S.
What does all of this mean for TSP beneficiaries? It means that now, more than ever, is the time to determine whether you qualify for residency. Even if you did not enter the U.S. lawfully, there may be “waiver” options available for you. The experienced immigration lawyers of FitzGerald Law Company remain available and dedicated to helping individuals become US Legal Permanente Residents, and leave the uncertainty and fear generated by the Trump Administration in the past.
Our Boston personal injury and criminal defense attorneys are also here to help you if you have been injured in an accident as a result of the negligence of others or if you are facing criminal charges. Call 617-303-2600 to make an appointment with one of our experienced immigration, criminal or personal injury lawyers or complete the online appointment request.
*According to statistical studies by The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) https://cmsny.org/publications/jmhs-tps-elsalvador-honduras-haiti/