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Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in U.S. is set to expire

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly extended the temporary protected status of 50,000 Haitians in the U.S. in May. It was not clear until the decision was reached what would happen to the Haitians in the U.S. under TPS status.

Temporary protected status, or TPS, allows people from certain countries to live and work in the U.S. because their homelands have been ravaged by situations such as armed conflict or natural disasters. Haitians were granted the ability to apply for this status in 2010 due to the effects of a massive earthquake. Haitians were set to lose TPS protection this July, prior to the six-month extension.  

The implications of the extension

If the order to give TPS protection to Haitians is allowed to expire, people in the US under that status are open to deportation. Conditions in Haiti are not ideal at this time, due to an ongoing cholera epidemic, and the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. The addition of 50,000 people who have been living in the US could add to the problems for Haiti, and certainly for those sent back. 

Applying For Visas

People facing possible deportation due to losing their TPS protection can apply for other visas while living in the U.S. 

  • Changing Nonimmigrant Status - As long as people with TPS visas have not violated the conditions of their status or committed any crimes that would make them ineligible, they can apply for student or other visas in order to extend their stays.
  • Adjustment of Status - TPS holders can also apply for permanent immigrant status if they meet all the qualifications to get a green card. In order to qualify, Haitians who might otherwise be deported must fit into an available immigration category, such as employment, or through humanitarian programs for status as a refugee or one seeking asylum.

People who are in the U.S. with TPS visas should seek the help of a qualified attorney and begin the process of changing or adjusting their status if they wish to remain. Even if Secretary Kelly extends the expiration of the Haiti TPS program, at some point that status will expire and those who want to stay in the U.S. are best off having already filed their paperwork to extend their stays or become permanent residents.

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