United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will extend deportation relief and US work permits for more than 300,000 nationals from six countries. Citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan will see their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extended until December 31, 2022.
The extension comes amid an ongoing lawsuit over former US President Donald Trump’s efforts to abolish the TPS US immigration program. A statement published by USCIS said: “The extension ensures continued compliance with various court orders issued by federal district courts.”
Current beneficiaries of the TPS program, which offers temporary US immigration status to people affected by natural disasters, armed conflict or some other extraordinary event in their own countries, do not need to pay a fee or file an application to maintain their TPS status, while their TPS related documents are automatically updated up to December 31.
However, the move to extend deportation relief and US work permits for citizens of the six countries has angered some Democrats and pro-immigrant activists who have previously urged President Joe Biden to include hundreds of thousands of additional immigrants rather than simply extending the program for those already enrolled.
Biden, a Democrat himself, has long championed the TPS program and has worked to expand the it. Meanwhile Trump, a Republican had tried to block the program but was thwarted by a federal court.
Several of the TPS designations have been renewed for decades. Meanwhile, since Biden took office on January 20, his administration has granted some 500,000 Haitians and Venezuelans deportation relief via the TPS program.
Biden has also extended protections to thousands of people from Myanmar, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
However, back in June, Workpermit.com reported that the US Supreme Court had prohibited immigrants with TPS from accessing US green cards. The ruling applies to TPS immigrants living legally in the US, but may have initially entered the country without legal permission.
The ruling came as a huge blow to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who rely on TPS and are looking to secure permanent residency in the US.
According to US immigration advocacy groups, civil rights’ groups and Democratic lawmakers, the Supreme Court’s decision ‘underscores an urgency to pass immigration reform in Congress that could secure a pathway to lawful residence for thousands of immigrants’.
In March 2021, the US House of Representatives passed a sweeping US immigration reform bill, which would create a citizenship process for undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children – or ‘Dreamers’ – plus TPS recipients. The bill was passed by a vote of 228 – 197.
Hong Kong nationals
Meanwhile, back on August 5, the President said that he would offer deportation relief to thousands of Hong Kong citizens who live and work in the US amid what he described as ‘anti-democratic actions by China in Hong Kong’.
Furthermore, Workpermit.com recently reported that US work permits would be made available to Hong Kong nationals by the end of September.
On August 5, President Joe Biden issued a memo allowing for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for certain Hong Kong residents, plus the right to work for 18 months.
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