TPS, or Temporary Protection Status, is a government-run program created to offer temporary shelter to international citizens dealing with a crisis. Thousands of such foreign nationals are in the U.S. on a temporary basis seeking refuge from conditions in their native countries that were dangerous, even life-threatening. Wars, natural disasters, violence, political persecution and other hazards are just some of the reasons that foreign citizens are on U.S. soil.
Who is eligible?
Stemming from the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a reprieve from dangers and extraordinary hardships. Applicants may apply from outside the country or from within the U.S. Once an individual has TPS status, he or she may extend it after an allotted amount of time, usually 6, 12, or 18 months. However, the person has to enroll during the registration period. Certain requirements are in place, however, and not everyone who is faced with the danger of some type is eligible. Foreign nationals with felonies and two misdemeanors are ineligible. The person must also not be removable at the time of application.
TPS is not a path to permanent resident status. A TPS recipient can file for an adjustment of status in the case of an asylum request, marriage to a U,S, citizen or other sponsorship. The TPS status is independent of other requests for adjustment, and if an adjustment of status is denied, it may or may not impact the current TPS. If a TPS recipient remains in the country past their departure date, they then have undocumented status and become subject to deportation.
Countries eligible to participate in this program are chosen by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and countries are added and removed at the discretion of the DHS office. Once the countries have been decided upon, that decision is not subject to judicial review. Typically, applicants from the following countries may apply and seek refuge in the U.S.: Burma or Myanmar, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.