Temporary Protected Status Sought for the Philippines
In light of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster, efforts began last week to request
that the U.S. Department of Homeland of Security (DHS) designate the Philippines for
Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
The DHS Secretary has the authority to designate a foreign country for
TPS because of conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s
nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the
country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. Once
a country is designated for TPS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) may grant TPS to its eligible nationals who are in the U.S. Some
countries designated for TPS include Syria, El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras.
The Secretary may designate a country for TPS based on any of following
temporary country conditions:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war, e.g., Syria);
- An environmental disaster (such as hurricane or earthquake, e.g., Haiti),
or an epidemic; and
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
During a period in which a country is designated for TPS, individuals granted
TPS, or who are found
prima facie eligible for TPS:
- Are not removable (deportable) from the U.S.;
- Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD); and
- May be granted travel authorization.
As the name suggests, TPS is a temporary benefit that does not on its own
lead to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or give any other immigration
status. However, TPS does not prevent an individual from:
- Applying for nonimmigrant status;
- Applying for adjustment of status to LPR based on an immigrant petition; or
- Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which she
or he may be eligible.
Last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan,
and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) called upon DHS
to extend TPS to the Philippines. According to recent
reports, the death toll is at 4,200. The Philippine government disputes this figure
and has reported 3,637 deaths as of this Saturday, up from 2,360. According
to the Philippine disaster council, 1,186 are still missing.
The Philippine government says 9.8 million have been affected in 44 provinces,
539 municipalities, and 56 cities. Of those affected, 4.9 million are
children; 1.5 million are children under the age of five who are at risk
of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM). According to U.N. estimates, 2.5 million
people are in need of food assistance.
*If you have questions about TPS or other immigration benefits, contact
Milla Law to schedule a free consultation.