Temporary protected status (also called “TPS”) is a temporary immigration status to the United States, granted to eligible nationals of designated countries.
In 1990, as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 (“IMMACT”), P.L. 101-649, Congress established a procedure by which the Attorney General may provide TPS to immigrants in the United States who are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
On March 1, 2003, pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, authority to designate a country (or part thereof) for TPS, and to extend and terminate TPS designations, was transferred from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Homeland Security. At the same time, responsibility for administering the TPS program was transferred from the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
During the period for which a country has been designated for TPS, TPS beneficiaries may remain in the United States and may obtain work authorization. However, TPS does not lead to permanent resident status (green card). When the Secretary terminates a TPS designation, beneficiaries revert to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status had since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may have acquired while registered for TPS. Accordingly, if an immigrant did not have lawful status prior to receiving TPS and did not obtain any other lawful status during the TPS designation, the immigrant reverts to unlawful status upon the termination of that TPS designation. TPS is not granted to persons that try to register after the first registration period ends, so if a person of a country that is currently under TPS did not register the first time TPS was assigned, then that person does not qualify for TPS.
Deferred Enforced Departure is an immigration status similar to TPS, and is currently active for Liberia. Liberians previously were able to hold TPS status.
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