TPS for Haiti

Biden just Designated TPS for Haiti – New Opportunity

by Jose Enrique Perez

The Biden Administration continues to deliver to the Immigrant community. This time President Biden fulfilled his campaign promise to the Haitian community in America when as a candidate he visited “Little Haiti” in Miami, Florida, and promised that TPS would be guaranteed for all Haitians and added, “There will be no quit on my part as your President making sure the Haitian community has an even shot of getting back on its feet and moves in the direction to be able to realize it’s incredible potential.” He also said, “I promise you; I give you my word that I will be there, I will stand with you…”

Last month, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a new 18-month designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This new TPS designation enables Haitian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Haiti) currently residing in the United States as of May 21, 2021 to file initial applications for TPS, so long as they meet eligibility requirements.

“Haiti is currently experiencing serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “After careful consideration, we determined that we must do what we can to support Haitian nationals in the United States until conditions in Haiti improve so they may safely return home.”

As you may remember, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. The aftermath has not been easy and Haitians in the United States (and any other individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in Haiti) are still unable to return safely to their country. But now this is a new designation; this is a new opportunity.

TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of Haiti (but, other countries have been also designated for TPS such as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Nepal, Burma, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela). A country is generally designated for TPS when there are temporary negative conditions, such as an armed conflict or an environmental disaster, that prevent nationals of the country from returning safely or for the country to handle their return adequately.

The most important immigration aspects of the TPS are that the beneficiaries of the TPS are allowed to remain in the United States and can legally work for a set time period (even if they were undocumented). Now, there is some case law that would allow TPS beneficiaries to adjust status to that of Lawful Permanent Residents.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (hereinafter “USCIS”) is the agency of the DHS in charge for the processing of immigration applications for TPS filed by nationals of Haiti.

What are the eligibility requirements for TPS?

(1) You must be a national of Haiti or someone with no nationality (e.g., a stateless person) who habitually resided in Haiti;

(2) You are continuously physically present in the United States since the date of the publication of the Federal Register Notice concerning TPS;

(3) meet certain immigrant admissibility requirements;

(4) not be ineligible from receiving TPS (such as having a conviction for two or more misdemeanors or for one felony or be subject to the bars to asylum);

(5) You must successfully complete all the application procedures and supporting documents with the USCIS (TPS application, Form I-821 and the Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765); and

(6) Pay all appropriate fees or fee waiver requests (Form I-821 fee $50, $85 biometric fee and $410 fee must accompany Form I-765 for employment authorization.)

If you are a person with no nationality that last habitually resided in Haiti, you may be still eligible to be a TPS beneficiary. Please call me as soon as possible to discuss your case. In essence, you must show that you are stateless (i.e., you do not have any nationality at all).

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with this program or any new immigration policies. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at joseperez@joseperezyourlawyer.com. The Law Office of Jose Perez has now moved and is located at 659 West Onondaga Street, Upper Level, Syracuse, New York 13204. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the July edition and stay safe, get vaccinated and stay away from the Coronavirus. In addition to our current practice of Personal Injuries, Work Accidents, Social Security and Immigration, we now also practice Criminal, Traffic, Family, DWI and Divorce.

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