DHS Grants TPS to Haitians Following Catastrophic Earthquake
Following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti last week, the Obama administration announced that it is granting temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitians who were in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010. The designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the U.S. to continue living and working in the country for the next 18 months. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano noted that “[t]hose who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010, will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.”
In a related field guidance memo issued on January 15, Secretary Napolitano said that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “will implement procedures to adjudicate favorably, where possible, applications for change or extension of nonimmigrant status following the expiration of an applicant’s period of admission; grant an additional period of parole or advance parole in appropriate cases; and authorize ‘F’ nonimmigrant students’ requests for off-campus employment work authorization.” She said USCIS will also “expedite the processing of advance parole applications and relative petitions for minor children from affected areas,” and will “grant employment authorization where appropriate.”
The field guidance memo, which outlines actions a USCIS officer may take when an applicant is a Haitian national or a habitual resident of Haiti, is available (PDF). The announcement, along with information about USCIS’s Haiti relief effort, is available here. Details on TPS application and eligibility requirements for Haitians are available here. Department of State information about queries related to U.S. citizens in Haiti and related issues is available here.