Path to Citizenship Blocked for Many TPS Holders
Immigration attorneys are reporting that many of their clients with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – often for years and even decards – are being cut off from a path to citizenship due to new interpretations of immigration law. This potentially impacts over 300,000 people from 10 countries including Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, and immigration attorneys in Florida, Illinois and Texas are reporting cases where applications to become permanent residents are being denied to TPS holders based on their USCIS-approved international travel.
What Is Temporary Protected Status?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a foreign country for Temporary Protected Status TPS and offer temporary legal status in the United States to people from that country who cannot return to their country of origin due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary reasons. Temporary status can be offered to people who arrive in the U.S. after their country is declared protected, as well as to people from that country who are already in the United States when their home country is designated as TPS by the Department of Homeland Security.
WLRN in Miami reports,
For years, people who were protected by TPS were able to leave the U.S. and then reenter, even if they initially entered the country illegally. Upon reentering the U.S. after traveling abroad, they would technically be “paroled” into the country. This would allow them to apply to become permanent residents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — a first step towards becoming a U.S. citizen.
Further, according to the USCIS policy manual, someone who gets paroled into the country is able to apply to become a legal permanent resident — even if they originally came to the U.S. illegally.
In California, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky, TPS holders don’t have to travel abroad to be paroled back into the US before applying for permanent residency. Two U.S. Appeals Court decisions for the Sixth and Ninth Circuits have found that having TPS alone is considered an “admission” into the U.S., allowing someone with it to apply for permanent residency.
Godoy Law Office is an established immigration law firm in Chicago and Lombard with attorneys who are ready to help you interpret the law as it applies in your case and apply for legal immigration status if you are eligible. Contact us online or call today to learn more.