The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for Haitians will be extended an additional six months, until January 22, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly has announced. While in TPS, individuals are protected from deportation and they may obtain employment and travel authorization.
Approximately 60,000 Haitians in the United States are enrolled in the TPS program. The program for Haiti started after an earthquake hit the country in 2010. TPS designations usually are granted in six- to 18-month cycles that can be renewed indefinitely. Kelly stated the extension “should allow Haitian TPS recipients . . . time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States….” Kelly said that “if [the country’s] recovery . . . continues at pace – [it] may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018.”
TPS allows individuals to remain in the United States when conditions in their home country (such as armed conflicts, environmental disasters, or epidemics) temporarily prevent their safe return. TPS does not “lead” to permanent residence, but an individual with TPS is not prevented from finding another way to remain by applying for nonimmigrant status or filing for adjustment of status based upon an immigrant visa petition, for instance. Other countries currently designated for TPS include: El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. On May 21, 2017, TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone was terminated after eight months’ advance notice.
Individuals in TPS status are authorized to work with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). EADs for individuals in TPS status include a category code “A-12” or “C-19.” Employers and employees affected by this DHS announcement should begin planning now for the possibility that TPS status for Haitian nationals will expire on January 22, 2018.