Immigration News: December 1, 2022

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) are two administrative tools that can protect people from deportation if it is not safe to return to their home countries. These are temporary protections, with no pathway to permanent residence or citizenship.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains:

The Secretary may designate a country for TPS due to the following temporary conditions in the country:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions

Fifteen countries are currently designated for TPS and three for DED.

Even as temporary measures, TPS and DED provide some protection to undocumented immigrants and allow them to apply for work permits. TPS or DED are available only to people who are already physically present in the United States on the date that their country is officially designated for TPS or DED. Those arriving later are not eligible.

With Haiti sinking deeper into crisis, 17 U.S. members of Congress and more than 400 organizations call on the Biden administration to re-designate Temporary Protected Status to allow Haitians to remain in the United States. Re-designation would set a new date for eligibility, allowing more Haitians already present in the United States to apply for TPS protection.

[The Hill] “‘As Haitians face an unprecedented crisis in their home country, we strongly urge the Administration to extend the 2021 designation and redesignate Haiti for TPS, swiftly release the Federal Register Notice, and provide a minimum 180-day registration period for both current TPS holders and new beneficiaries under redesignation,’ wrote the lawmakers.

“The Democrats’ requests mirror those of a coalition of more than 400 pro-immigrant and Haitian advocacy groups, who last month called on the Biden administration to revamp TPS for the Caribbean nation.” 

As it aids nearly two million Venezuelan refugees inside its borders, Colombia calls on the United States to grant temporary protected status to nearly two million Colombians living in the United States. Colombian officials pointed to U.S. statements that migration is a regional issue and said this is part of a regional solution. 

[NBC] “In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, [Luis Alberto Murillo Urrutia, Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S.] asks President Joe Biden to grant Colombians already in the U.S. a form of temporary status called Deferred Enforced Departure. …

“Last week, the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army resumed peace talks after a roughly four-year hiatus during which the rebels have expanded the territory where they operate.

“’For more than 60 years, hundreds of thousands of Colombian citizens have been forced to leave the country because of the conflict seeking to rebuild their lives, many of the more recently arrived still remain vulnerable and unprotected in the United States,’ Murillo Urrutia wrote.” 

And in other news

Aswar Rahman, now 28 years old, came to the United States from Bangladesh as “a dirt poor immigrant” at the age of six. Now he runs a business creating digital content for political campaigns and has founded a nonprofit to bring Ukrainian refugees to Minnesota. 

[Star Tribune] “After Uniting for Ukraine launched, he founded a nonprofit called American Service in Ukraine using his private business earnings and hired several Ukrainians in Lviv. They started English and cultural training classes for displaced families, and began matching them with Americans who agreed to sponsor them by filing a Form I-134.

“Refugees of the Russian invasion of Ukraine are not admitted to the U.S. under the country’s official refugee program. They don’t receive the usual three months of government assistance for housing and other expenses. Instead, the government vets I-134 filers based on income to ensure they can support Ukrainians over the next two years, at least at a poverty level, since traditional refugee supports aren’t guaranteed.”

We promised to help Afghan allies who faced danger from the Taliban takeover. Instead, U.S. authorities jailed this fleeing Afghan soldier. Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act to proitect Afghan allies. 

[Texas Tribune] “Sami, 29, had been working side by side with the U.S. military as an interpreter for special forces in Afghanistan. For years, he traveled between the two countries and in July 2021 was granted full U.S. citizenship.

“But thousands like [his brother] Wasi, 26, who had helped U.S. forces — but were not paid by the U.S. government — were left behind with few options to escape. With a Taliban target on their backs, many went into hiding as reports of revenge killings grew. …

“Wasi fled the country. Over the next year, he would cross two continents by plane, bus, car and taxi and walk countless miles, including a seven-day trek through Panama’s treacherous Darién Gap with a group of other migrants to reach the U.S.-Mexico border two months ago. Then he crossed the Rio Grande and was quickly charged with a federal crime for illegally entering the country.” 

One immigration bill is slated for passage with bipartisan support, and strong corporate backing. The bill would phase out per-country caps on employment-based visas.

[Bloomberg News] “Immigrants have requested the changes for years to address staggering backlogs in the US visa system, though many disagree over whether removing the per-country caps is the best approach. The caps on employment visas have an outsized impact on immigrants from India and China, who often must wait decades to get a green card. …

“The Senate passed a similar proposal under unanimous consent in 2020, but couldn’t reconcile it with a House version before the congressional session ended.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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