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US restores path to green card for some TPS holders

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Some Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients should find a way to adjust their immigration status to permanent residence in the United States

Earlier this month, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a memorandum that reinstated a process that had been available for years until it was changed under the administration. Trump.

This process allows immigrants who entered the United States without legal authorization, but who now have TPS, to travel outside the United States and, upon their return, be formally inspected and admitted at a port of entry. American. If they are married to a US citizen or have a child over 21 who is a US citizen, they could potentially apply for a green card through family sponsorship.

An inspection is a requirement under US immigration law for non-citizens to adjust their status. Those who entered the country illegally but have since received TPS were not considered inspected and admitted.

Who will be affected?

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, director of policy at the US Immigration Council, said it would affect people who marry US citizens or are the parents of US citizens over the age of 21.

“It’s the most common way undocumented people can change their status and get a green card,” Reichlin-Melnick said.

What is GST?

Congress created the TPS in 1990 when it declared that migrants whose countries of origin are considered dangerous could live and work in the United States for a certain period of time if they met the requirements established by the United States government.

Currently, 15 countries have TPS designations: Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen. TPS does not lead to permanent residence in the United States.

Is this travel policy new?

No. It had been used for decades until it was shut down by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) in a decision on an immigration case called the ZRZC case.

In its memorandum, USCIS management said it no longer considers the BIA decision, which created a restrictive interpretation of inspection and admission for TPS recipients, as its policy.

“The [BIA] says that, despite the fact that you requested this advance travel authorization, despite the fact that it was granted to you, despite the fact that when you returned to the United States, you went to the agent immigration and presented him with this document, which says parole on it, you are not technically screened and admitted or paroled in the United States. The BIA has created a legal fiction that you returned to the United States in the status you had before you got TPS,” said Michael Turansick, immigration attorney at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. .

Turansick said USCIS reverted to using the ‘common sense and plain sense definition’ of inspection and admission under current immigration law when updating the policy. .

“When an individual presents himself at a port of entry to an immigration officer for processing and is permitted to enter the United States, this is an inspection and admission for TPS recipients who have obtained this travel authorization,” he said.

Is this amnesty for all TPS holders?

No. This policy does not grant automatic permanent resident status to all TPS recipients who live in the United States without documentation. Turansick explained that this was an option for people who had previously entered without inspection to regularize their status.

Reichlin-Melnick said this policy is “specifically for [some TPS recipients] living in limbo, legally present in the United States, but unable to obtain any permanent status.”

Who will benefit?

Immigration lawyers said it’s unclear how many people will be able to adjust their status using the policy, but they estimate thousands of TPS holders could benefit.

Under the Trump administration, TPS recipients could apply for travel authorization, but they returned to the United States with the same status they had when they left. In its recent memo, USCIS said the policy change is retroactive, meaning TPS holders who traveled during the Trump years and were admitted will be granted inspected status.

Do TPS holders need to apply for travel authorization?

Yes. TPS holders must apply for travel authorization to leave the United States. Applicants must show USCIS that they need to travel for urgent humanitarian reasons, such as an ill relative. If the TPS holder’s travel authorization is requested by a nonprofit organization, it must demonstrate that the trip will serve the social and cultural interests of the United States. The current filing fee is $575.

If a TPS holder leaves the United States without first obtaining TPS travel authorization, they may lose TPS status and will not be able to re-enter the United States.