TPS – Haiti’s illegal nationals given temporary protection in US

The Department of Homeland Security now offer Haitian nationals, who were already here when the earthquake struck, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. That status, which would allow them to legally work, will not cover Haitians who leave their country following the devastating quake that resulted in as many as 150,000 deaths. Many Haitians flee the country, thinking they will be accepted in the US at any time and given a right to stay and work. TPS is not a right to enter, rather a relief for those illegals that are already here.

What is TPS?

Congress established a provision for short-term protection known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The provision sets forth criteria for the extension of temporary protection to people from certain countries experiencing political or environmental upheaval. For decades, during periods of civil strife, economic upheaval, or natural disaster, the Attorney General–in consultation with other agencies–exercised his or her discretion not to force nationals of countries experiencing these calamities to leave the United States. Individuals who were in the country illegally could present themselves and receive work authorization; those in proceedings had their cases put on hold; while those who already had orders of removal were not returned until the situation had stabilized. The relief was extra-statutory and was called “extended voluntary departure.”
It was a pure form of prosecutorial discretion exercised on the part of the authorities.

In later years, the exercise of this prosecutorial discretion was given the designation of “deferred enforced departure.” TPS is the latest version of the statutory form of relief. Recent grants of TPS status have been to Liberians during specified periods of the civil war in that country; to nationals of El Salvador following a severe earthquake in 2001; and to nationals of Somalia as a result of its civil war.

There are three bases for TPS under the statute:
(1) existence of an ongoing armed conflict within a particular country that poses a threat to the personal safety of the general population;
(2) a flood, drought, epidemic, earthquake, or other natural disaster that causes a substantial temporary disruption in the living conditions in the country;
3) an extraordinary and temporary condition in a country that prevents its nationals from being able to return safely. In order to qualify for TPS, a person must be physically present in the United States on the date of the designation and meet the requirements set forth in announcements issued by DHS.

One logic behind this move is that Haitian immigrants already in the U.S. will not only be able to make money to support themselves, but also to send money/goods to their suffering families back in Haiti. And they sure do need the help.