On May 22, 2017, DHS Secretary John Kelly announced that TPS for Haiti will be extended for another six months, until January 22, 2018. That is good news for Haitian nationals with TPS and their families, but not great news. DHS could have extended TPS for a maximum of 18 months, but did not. DHS could have also terminated TPS as of July 22, 2017, but it did not.
There was a fear that the government would end TPS for Haiti immediately, which would have effectively taken away work permits and TPS status for over 50,000 Haitian nationals currently in the United States. Thankfully, that did not happen this week. However, Secretary Kelly was quite clear that this six-month extension of TPS for Haiti would likely be the last and that Haitians with TPS should either find another way to stay legally in the United States, or prepare to return to Haiti early next year.
With DHS’s new announcement, its important to remember that Haitian nationals with TPS must still re-register and request an employment authorization in order to extend their TPS status and work permits from July 22, 2017 to January 22, 2018. If you already have TPS and a work permit that is valid until July 22, 2017, as long as you re-register for TPS and request to renew your work permit before July 22, 2017, your TPS and work authorization will be automatically extended. That means, you don’t need to wait for your new work permit to come in the mail in order opt work after July 22, 2017, as long as you re-register for TPS and apply for a new work permit before that date. See the USCIS Haiti TPS website for more details. https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status/temporary-protected-status-designated-country-haiti
I blogged before about different immigration options for Haitian Nationals in the U.S. who may lose TPS. https://www.floridaimmigrationlawyerblog.com/2017/05/immigration-options-haitian-nationals-president-trump-ends-temporary-protected-status-tps-haiti.html
Now that we know it is very likely that TPS for Haiti will officially end on January 22, 2018, Haitian nationals should really look into their immigration options.
- If you were admitted or paroled into the United States before you received TPS, or while you had TPS, you may be eligible to adjust your status through a U.S. citizen spouse, adult son or daughter or parent (if you are a child). Under certain circumstances, you may be able to adjust status through a Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse or Parent, or a U.S. citizen sibling.
- If you have been the victim of certain crimes in the United States and have suffered physically or emotionally because of it, and you have been cooperative with law enforcement, you may be eligible for a U Visa.
- If you were or are in removal proceedings (immigration court), and your case was closed, you can go back to court and apply for any form of relief from removal for which you are eligible. This may include asylum, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal or others.
- If you have never been in immigration court and have a fear of going back to Haiti because of past persecution or a fear of future persecution, you may be eligible to apply for asylum and/or withholding of removal. Normally, you have to apply for asylum within one year of entering the U.S., but there are exceptions. Applying for asylum can also come with a new work permit when the TPS work permit is taken away. Asylum is complicated and if you do not do it correctly, or for the wrong reasons, you can end up getting deported and barred from all forms of immigration benefits and relief from removal.
The time to consult with an immigration attorney is now, don’t wait until TPS is likely gone in January, 2018, because some of your immigration options may be gone with it. Call and schedule a consultation today!