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Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues

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Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Ruth Ellen Wasem Specialist in Immigration Policy Karma Ester Information Research Specialist April 2, 2012January 14, 2014 Congressional Research Service 7-5700 www.crs.gov RS20844 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Summary When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of foreign nationals from these troubled places who are in the United States. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) or relief from removal under specified circumstances. A foreign national who is granted TPS receives a registration document and an employment authorization for the duration of TPS. The United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of eightnine countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently SouthernSouth Sudan and Syria. Liberians have had relief from removal removal for the longest period, first receiving TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war and ultimately ending DED on September 30, 2011. On March 29, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano designated the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for TPS through September 30, 2013, citing temporary extraordinary conditions that would make it unsafe for Syrian nationals already in the United States to return to the country. Over the past year, the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Asad has escalated to the point that the nation verges on a civil war. The government crackdown in Syria has reportedly killed over 8,000 people since March 2011obtaining DED on September 30, 2011. In December 2013, the government of the Philippines formally requested that the United States grant TPS to Filipinos in the United States who are affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Under the INA, the executive branch grants TPS or relief from removal. Congress, however, has also provided TPS legislatively. Legislation pertaining to TPSthat would grant TPS to Filipinos (H.R. 3602, the Filipino Temporary Protected Status Act of 2013) has been introduced in the 112th 113th Congress. Congressional Research Service Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Contents Background ...................................................................................................................................... 1 Humanitarian Migrants .................................................................................................................... 1 Temporary Protected Status ............................................................................................................. 2 Other Blanket Forms of Relief......................................................................................................... 3 Nationalities Receiving Temporary Protections .............................................................................. 3 Issues..................Leading Concerns .............................................................................................................................. 5 Syrians . 5 Filipinos ...................................................................................................................................... 5 Haitians 5 Syrians ....................................................................................................................................... 5 Other Nations Affected by Natural Disasters ....Haitians ........................................................................ 6 Liberians............................................................................................................... 6 Liberians ..................... 6 Central Americans ..................................................................................................................... 7 Adjustment of Status 6 Central Americans ..................................................................................................................... 7 Recent Legislation ........................................................................................................................... 78 Tables Table 1. Countries Whose Nationals in the United States Currently Benefit from Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure.................................................... 4 Contacts Author Contact Information............................................................................................................. 8 Congressional Research Service Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Background The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that all aliens (i.e., persons who are not citizens or nationals of the United States) must enter pursuant to the INA. The major categories of aliens are immigrants, refugees and asylees (all admitted for or adjusted to legal permanent residence), and nonimmigrants (admitted for temporary reasons, e.g., students, tourists, or business travelers). AliensForeign nationals who lack proper immigration authorization are generally of two kinds: those who entered the United States without inspection according to immigration procedures, or those who entered the United States on a temporary visa and have stayed beyond the expiration date of the visa. Unauthorized aliens of both kinds are three kinds: (1) those who overstay their nonimmigrant visas, (2) those who enter the country surreptitiously without inspection, and (3) those who are admitted on the basis of fraudulent documents. In all three instances, the aliens are in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and subject to removal. As a signatory to the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (hereinafter, U.N. Protocol), the United States agrees to the principle of nonrefoulement, which means that it will not return an alien to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened. Nonrefoulement is embodied in several provisions of U.S. immigration law. Most notably, it is reflected in the provisions requiring the government to withhold the removal of aliens to a country in which the alien’s life or freedom would be threatened on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.1 Humanitarian Migrants Not all humanitarian migrants are eligible for asylum or refugee status. The legal definition of asylum in the INA is consistent with the U.N. Protocol, which specifies that a refugee is a person who is unwilling or unable to return to his country of nationality or habitual residence because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The definitions of refugee and asylee are essentially the same in the INA, with the notable difference being the physical location of the persons seeking the status. Those who are in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry apply for asylum, while those who are displaced abroad apply for refugee status. The standards of proof and minimum thresholds are similar, but the procedures and priorities are quite different.2 If the motivation of the migrant is determined to be economic improvement rather than the political reasons that underpin the legal definition, the person is not considered eligible for asylum. This distinction is sometimes difficult to discern, because persecution as well as war may lead to economic hardships, and economic deprivation may trigger persecution or insurrection. Since factors such as extreme poverty, deprivation, violence, and the dislocation brought on by famines or natural disasters may evoke a humanitarian response, the term humanitarian migrants encompasses all those who emigrate to the United States for such reasons, including those who receive asylum.3 1 Section 208 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1158); Section 241(b)(3) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1231); and Section 101(a) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(42)). 2 CRS Report RL32621, R41753, Asylum and “Credible Fear” Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy on Asylum Seekers, by Ruth Ellen Wasem; and CRS Report RL31269, Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy, by Andorra Bruno. 3 The term “humanitarian migrant” is not defined in the INA, nor, in this context, is it meant to imply that a sympathetic policy response is warranted. Rather, it refers to factors underlying the alien’s justification for immigration.(continued...) Congressional Research Service 1 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues The concept of “safe haven” embraces humanitarian migrants. It covers those who may not meet the legal definition of refugee but are nonetheless fleeing potentially dangerous situations. Safe haven also assumes that the host country, in this instance the United States, is the first country in which the fleeing alien arrives safely, or is the country where the alien is temporarily residing when the unsafe conditions occur. Safe haven is implicitly temporary in nature because it is given prior to any decision on the long-term resolution of the alien’s status. It is also a form of blanket relief because it is premised on more generalized conditions of turmoil or deprivation in the country of origin, in contrast to the individual circumstances weighed in the case-by-case asylum process. In terms of permanent residence over the long term, the United States endorses the internationally held position that voluntary repatriation is the best outcome for refugees. Resettlement in the country to which the asylum seeker fled is considered a secondary option, and resettlement in a third country as the last alternative. Temporary Protected Status Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is the statutory embodiment of safe haven for those aliens who may not meet the legal definition of refugee but are nonetheless fleeing—or reluctant to return to—potentially dangerous situations. TPS is blanket relief that may be granted under the following conditions: there is ongoing armed conflict posing serious threat to personal safety; a foreign state requests TPS because it temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental disaster; or there are extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state that prevent aliens from returning, provided that granting TPS is consistent with U.S. national interests.4 The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, can issue TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if conditions do not change in the designated country.5 To obtain TPS, eligible aliens report to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), pay a processing fee, and receive registration documents and a work authorization. The major requirements for aliens seeking TPS are proof of eligibility (e.g., a passport issued by the designated country, continuous physical presence in the United States since the date TPS went into effect, timely registration, and being otherwise admissible as an immigrant). The regulation specifies grounds of inadmissibility that cannot be waived, including those relating to criminal convictions and the persecution of others.6 Aliens who receive TPS are not on an immigration track that leads to permanent residence or citizenship. The “temporary” nature of TPS is apparent in the regulation. DHS has made clear that information it collects when an alien registers for TPS may be used to institute exclusion or 4 (...continued) immigration. 4 Section 244 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1254a). 5 Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), the former Immigration and Naturalization Service was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security. As a part of this transfer, the responsibility for administering the TPS was transferred from the Attorney General in the Department of Justice to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) administers TPS. 6 8 U.S.C. §240. 5 Congressional Research Service 2 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues information it collects when an alien registers for TPS may be used to institute exclusion or deportation proceedings upon the denial, withdrawal or expiration of TPS.7 Moreover, the TPS provision in the INA states that a bill or amendment that provides for the adjustment to lawful temporary or legal permanent resident (LPR) status for any alien receiving TPS requires a supermajority vote in the Senate (i.e., three-fifths of all Senators) voting affirmatively.8 Other Blanket Forms of Relief In addition to TPS, the Attorney General , and more recently the Secretary of Homeland Security, has provided, under certain conditions, discretionary relief from deportation so that aliens who have not been legally admitted to the United States may remain in this country either temporarily or permanently. The statutory authority cited by the agency for these discretionary procedures is generally that portion of immigration law that confers on the Attorney General the authority for general enforcement and the section of the law covering the authority for voluntary departure.9 Such blanket relief is an exercise of the discretion of the Attorney General, and thus, the Secretary of State need not be consulted. Prior to the enactment of TPS, the Attorney General provided relief by means of the suspension of enforcement of the immigration laws against a particular group of individuals. The two most common discretionary procedures to provide relief from deportation have been deferred departure or deferred enforced departure (DED) and extended voluntary departure (EVD). The discretionary procedures of DED and EVD continue to be used to provide relief the Administration feels is appropriate, and the executive branch’s position is that all blanket relief decisions require a balance of judgment regarding foreign policy, humanitarian, and immigration concerns. Unlike TPS, aliens who benefit from EVD or DED do not necessarily register for the status with USCIS, but they trigger the protection when they are identified for deportation. If, however, they wish to be employed in the United States, they must apply for a work authorization from USCIS. Nationalities Receiving Temporary Protections Aliens from eight countries currently have TPS. The estimated number of aliens currently protected range from 300 Somalians to 217,000 Salvadorans. In 1990, when Congress enacted the TPS statute, it also granted TPS for one year to nationals from El Salvador who were residing in the United States. Subsequently, the Attorney General, in consultation with the State Department, granted TPS to aliens in the United States from the following countries: Liberia from March 1991 to October 2007; Kuwait from March 1991 to March 1992; Rwanda from June 1995 to December 1997; Lebanon from March 1991 to March 1993; the Kosovo Province of Serbia from June 1998 to December 2000; Bosnia-Herzegovina from August 1992 to February 2001; Angola from March 29, 2000, to March 29, 2003; Sierra Leone from November 4, 1997, to May 3, 2004; and Burundi from November 4, 1997, to May 2, 2009. Rather than extending Salvadoran TPS when it expired in 1992, the former Bush Administration granted DED to what was then estimated as 190,000 Salvadorans through December 1994. The 7 Ibid. Section 244(h) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1254a). 9 Section 240 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1229a); §240B (8 U.S.C. §1229c). 8 Congressional Research Service 3 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues first Bush Administration also granted DED to about 80,000 Chinese following the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, and the Chinese retained DED through January 1994. In December 1997, President Clinton instructed the Attorney General to grant DED to the Haitians for one year due to country conditions.10 Although their TPS was not renewed, Liberians were granted DED through September 30, 2011. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became a new nation.11 With South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan, which has had TPS since 1997, some questioned their continued eligibility for TPS under the Sudan designation. With the new designation of South Sudan, some individuals now qualify for TPS under the South Sudanese designation, while others may still qualify under the Sudan designation.12 On March 29, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano designated the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for TPS through September 30, 2013, citing temporary extraordinary conditions that would make it unsafe for Syrian nationals already in the United States to return to the country.13The United States currently provides TPS or DED to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of nine countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently South Sudan and Syria. Liberians have had relief from removal for the longest period, first receiving TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war and ultimately obtaining DED on September 30, 2011. The estimated number of aliens currently protected range from 300 Sudanese to 212,000 Salvadorans. In 1990, when Congress enacted the TPS statute, it also granted TPS for one year to nationals from El Salvador who were residing in the United States. Subsequently, the Attorney General, in consultation with the State Department, granted TPS to aliens in the United States from the following countries: Liberia from March 1991 to October 2007; Kuwait from March 1991 to 7 Ibid. Section 244(h) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1254a). 9 Section 240 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1229a); §240B (8 U.S.C. §1229c). 8 Congressional Research Service 3 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues March 1992; Rwanda from June 1995 to December 1997; Lebanon from March 1991 to March 1993; the Kosovo Province of Serbia from June 1998 to December 2000; Bosnia-Herzegovina from August 1992 to February 2001; Angola from March 29, 2000, to March 29, 2003; Sierra Leone from November 4, 1997, to May 3, 2004; and Burundi from November 4, 1997, to May 2, 2009. Table 1. Countries Whose Nationals in the United States Currently Benefit from Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure Country Status Dates Estimated Numbera El Salvador TPS March 2, 2001-September 9, 2013March 9, 2015 212,000 Haiti TPS January 15, 2010-January 22, 2013 48 July 22, 2014 60,000 Honduras TPS December 30, 1998-July 5, 2013 64,000January 5, 2015 64,000 Liberia DED October 1, 2007-September 30, 2014 Nicaragua TPS December 30, 1998- July 5, 2013 3,000January 5, 2015 Somalia TPS September 16, 1991-September 17, 2012 Southern2015 400 South Sudan TPS November 3, 2011- May 2, 2013November 2, 2014 400 Sudan TPS November 4, 1997-May 2, 2013 November 2, 2014 300 Syria TPS March 23, 2012-September 30, 2013 300 b 340 2,500-3,000March 31, 2015 NA 3,000 2,600-11,600b Source: CRS compilation of USCIS data. a. Estimates based upon USCIS data for designated status or work authorizations. These approximate numbers do not necessarily include all aliens from the countries who are in the United States and might be eligible for the status. USCIS updates these numbers when it renews TPS for nationals from a given country. b. DHS estimates that the combined total of Sudanese and South Sudanese eligible for TPS under the initial designation and extension of Sudan to be approximately 340. Some of these individuals may re-register for Sudan TPS, and others may be able to change their registration from Sudan to South Sudan. 10 up to 9,000 additional people could be eligible for TPS under Syria’s re-designation. Rather than extending Salvadoran TPS when it expired in 1992, the George H.W. Bush Administration granted DED to what was then estimated as 190,000 Salvadorans through December 1994. The first Bush Administration also granted DED to about 80,000 Chinese following the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, and the Chinese retained DED through January 1994. In December 1997, President Clinton instructed the Attorney General to grant DED to the Haitians for one year due to country conditions.10 On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became a new nation.11 With South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan, which has had TPS since 1997, some questioned their continued eligibility for TPS under the Sudan designation. With the new designation of South Sudan, some individuals now qualify for TPS under the South Sudanese designation, while others may still qualify under the Sudan designation.12 10 In the past, EVD status has been given to Poles (July 1984 to March 1989), Nicaraguans (July 1979 to September 1980), Iranians (April to December 1979), and Ugandans (June 1978 to September 1986). Lebanese had been handled sympathetically as a group, getting EVD on a case-by-case basis since 1976, prior to receiving TPS from 1991 to 1993. Other countries whose nationals have benefitted in the past from a status similar to EVD include Cambodia, Cuba, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Laos, Rumania, and Vietnam. 11 CRS Report R41900, The Republic of South Sudan: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa’s Newest Country, by Ted Dagne (available upon request). 12 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Designation of Republic of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status,” 76, 198 Federal Register 63629-63635, October 13, 2011. 13 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Designation of Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status,” 77, 61 Federal Register 19026-19030, March 29, 2012. Congressional Research Service 4 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Issues Syrians Foreign nationals from Syria are among those subject to additional security screenings and background checks in order to obtain a visa to come to the United States because Syria is deemed a state sponsor of terrorism.14 Over the past year, the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Asad has escalated to the point that the nation verges on civil war. The government crackdown in Syria has reportedly killed over 8,000 people since last year. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of March 23, 2012, over 41,000 Syrians had fled to other countries, including Turkey (17,000), Lebanon (16,000), and Jordan (8,500).15 DHS Secretary Napolitano said “conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country.” Secretary Napolitano has reiterated that DHS would conduct full background checks on Syrians registering for TPS.16 Haitians The devastation caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti prompted calls for the Obama Administration to grant TPS to Haitians in the United States at the time of the earthquake. The issue of Haitian TPS has arisen several times in the past few years, most notably after the U.S. Ambassador declared Haiti a disaster in September 2004 due to the magnitude of the effects of Tropical Storm Jeanne. A series of tropical cyclones in 2008 resulted in hundreds of deaths and led some to label the city of Gonaives uninhabitable.17 The Administration of President George W. Bush did not to grant TPS or other forms of blanket relief to Haitians, nor was legislation that would have provided TPS to Haitians, such as H.R. 522 in the 110th Congress, enacted. Opponents to Haitian TPS traditionally argue that it would result in an immigration amnesty for unauthorized Haitians and foster illegal migration from the island.18 The scale of humanitarian crisis after the earthquake—estimated thousands of Haitians dead and reported total collapse of the infrastructure in the capital city of Port au Prince—led DHS to announce on January 13, 2010, that it would temporarily halt the deportation of Haitians. “TPS is in the range of considerations we consider in a disaster,” stated DHS Deputy Press Secretary Matthew Chandler, “but our focus remains on saving lives.”19 14 (continued...) Congressional Research Service 4 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Leading Concerns Filipinos On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) became one of the strongest typhoons (cyclones) ever recorded to strike land. The typhoon struck with a force equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane and sustained winds of up to 195 mph. It directly swept through six provinces of the Philippines. The Philippine government reported that more than 6,000 people were killed and more than 3.43 million were displaced. Overall, the typhoon affected an estimated 13.7 million Filipinos.13 Within a few days of the typhoon, USCIS announced a limited set of immigration relief measures that Filipinos impacted by the typhoon might be eligible for, but it did not grant TPS.14 The government of the Philippines formally requested on December 16, 2013, that President Barack Obama designate TPS for Filipinos in the United States.15 Syrians On March 29, 2012, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano designated the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for TPS through September 30, 2013, citing temporary extraordinary conditions that would make it unsafe for Syrian nationals already in the United States to return to the country.16 Foreign nationals from Syria are among those subject to additional security screenings and background checks in order to obtain a visa to come to the United States because Syria is deemed a state sponsor of terrorism.17 The ongoing uprising against Syrian President Bashar al Asad had escalated to the point that then-DHS Secretary Napolitano said “conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country.” In the initial granting of TPS, Napolitano made clear that DHS would conduct full background checks on Syrians registering for TPS.18 On June 17, 2013, Napolitano re-designated TPS for Syria and (...continued) South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status,” 76, 198 Federal Register 63629-63635, October 13, 2011. 13 CRS Report R43309, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda): U.S. and International Response to Philippines Disaster, coordinated by Thomas Lum and Rhoda Margesson. 14 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “USCIS Reminds Filipino Nationals Impacted by Typhoon Haiyan of Available Immigration Relief Measures,” press release, November 15, 2013, http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscisreminds-filipino-nationals-impacted-typhoon-haiyan-available-immigration-relief-measures. 15 Embassy of the Philippines, Washington DC, “PH Seeks Additional Immigration Relief for Pinoys in US,” press release, December 16, 2013, http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/news/3774/300/PH-SEEKS-ADDITIONALIMMIGRATION-RELIEF-FOR-PINOYS-IN-US/d,phildet/. 16 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Designation of Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status,” 77, 61 Federal Register 19026-19030, March 29, 2012. 17 No nonimmigrant visa under §101(a)(15) of the INA shall be issued to any alien from a country that is a state sponsor of international terrorism unless the Secretary of State determines, in consultation with the Attorney General and the heads of other appropriate United States agencies, that such alien does not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States. 15 CRS Report RL33487, Unrest in Syria and U.S. Sanctions Against the Asad Regime, by Jeremy M. Sharp and Christopher M. Blanchard. 1618 Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, “Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian Nationals,” press release, March 23, 2012, http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20120323-napolitano-statement-syria-tps.shtm. 17 Trenton Daniel and Jacqueline Charles, “Mud and Misery Rule Storm-Ravaged City,” Miami Herald, November 2, 2008, p. A1. 18 CRS Report RS21349, U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants, by Ruth Ellen Wasem. 19 Toluse Olorunnipa and Alfonso Chardy, “U.S. Halts Deportation of Undocumented Haitians Due to Earthquake,” Miami Herald, January 13, 2010. Congressional Research Service 5 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues On January 15, 2010, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano granted TPS for 18 months to Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. She Congressional Research Service 5 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues extended the existing TPS designation for the country from October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2015.19 Haitians The devastation caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti prompted calls for the Obama Administration to grant TPS to Haitians in the United States at the time of the earthquake.20 The scale of humanitarian crisis after the earthquake—estimated thousands of Haitians dead and reported total collapse of the infrastructure in the capital city of Port au Prince—led DHS to grant on January 15, 2010 TPS for 18 months to Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Then-Secretary Janet Napolitano stated: “Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.”2021 On July 13, 2010, Secretary Napolitano announced an extension of the TPS registration period for Haitian nationals. Citing the difficulties nationals were were experiencing in obtaining documents to establish identity and nationality, and the difficulty in in gathering the funds required to apply for TPS, the registration period was extended through January 18, 2011.21 Secretary 22 Napolitano extended and re-designated TPS for Haitians on May 17, 2011. The extension becomes was effective July 23, 2011, and enablesenabled eligible individuals who arrived up to one year after the earthquake in Haiti to receive TPS. The re-designation targetstargeted individuals who were allowed to enter the United States immediately after the earthquake on temporary visas or humanitarian humanitarian parole but were not covered by the initial TPS grant. The extension and redesignation is for a re-designation was for a period of 18 months, through January 22, 2013.22 Other Nations Affected by Natural Disasters As a result of the natural disasters in recent years that devastated Peru, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Somalia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Maldives, Tanzania, Seychelles, Bangladesh, and Kenya, some called for the Administration to grant TPS to nationals from these countries. Proponents maintained that these countries could not handle the return of nationals due to the environmental disasters and that there are extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent these people from returning safely. Few issued public statements in opposition, and the Administration did not take a position on these countries. Liberians Liberians had relief from removal for the longest period of those who have had TPS or other forms of blanket relief from deportation. They first received TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war. In 1999, approximately 10,000 Liberians in the United States were given DED after their TPS expired September 28, 1999. Their DED status was subsequently extended to September 29, 2002. On October 1, 2002, Liberia was re-designated for TPS for a period of 12 months, and the status continued to be extended. On September 20, 2006, however, the Bush Administration announced that Liberian TPS would expire on October 1, 2007, and they were once again granted DED until March 31, 2009. On March 23, 2009, President Obama extended DED for Liberians until March 31, 2010, and on March 18, 2010, President Obama once again extended DED for Liberians through September 30, 2011.23 20 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano,” press release, January 15, 2010. 2123 Subsequently, the DHS Secretary extended the designation of Haiti for TPS for 18 months from January 23, 2013, through July 22, 2014.24 Liberians Liberians had relief from removal for the longest period of those who have had TPS or other forms of blanket relief from deportation. They first received TPS in March 1991 following the 19 Department of Homeland Security, “Extension and Redesignation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status,” 78 Federal Register 36223-36229, June 17, 2013. 20 The issue of Haitian TPS has arisen several times in the past few years, most notably after the U.S. Ambassador declared Haiti a disaster in September 2004 due to the magnitude of the effects of Tropical Storm Jeanne. A series of tropical cyclones in 2008 resulted in hundreds of deaths and led some to label the city of Gonaives uninhabitable.20 The Administration of President George W. Bush did not to grant TPS or other forms of blanket relief to Haitians, nor was legislation that would have provided TPS to Haitians, such as H.R. 522 in the 110th Congress, enacted. Opponents to Haitian TPS traditionally argue that it would result in an immigration amnesty for unauthorized Haitians and foster illegal migration from the island. CRS Report RS21349, U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants, by Ruth Ellen Wasem. 21 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano,” press release, January 15, 2010. 22 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Extension of the Initial Registration Period for Haitians Under the Temporary Protected Status Program,” 75 Federal Register 39957, July 13, 2010. 2223 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Secretary Napolitano Announces Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Beneficiaries,” press release, May 17, 2011. 2324 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Filing Procedures and Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization and Related Documentation for Liberians Provided Deferred Enforced Departure,” 75 Federal Register (continued...) Congressional Research Service 6 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and IssuesExtension of the Designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status,” 77 Federal Register 2012-23826, October 1, 2012. Congressional Research Service 6 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues outbreak of civil war. In 1999, approximately 10,000 Liberians in the United States were given DED after their TPS expired September 28, 1999. Their DED status was subsequently extended to September 29, 2002. On October 1, 2002, Liberia was re-designated for TPS for a period of 12 months, and the status continued to be extended. On September 20, 2006, however, the George W. Bush Administration announced that Liberian TPS would expire on October 1, 2007, and they were once again granted DED until March 31, 2009. On March 23, 2009, President Obama extended DED for Liberians until March 31, 2010, and on March 18, 2010, President Obama once again extended DED for Liberians through September 30, 2011.25 Currently, Liberians have DED through September 30, 2014.26 Central Americans Whether to grant blanket relief to nationals from neighboring Central American countries has perplexed policy makers for several decades. The only time Congress has specifically granted TPS was in 1990 to nationals of El Salvador. 2427 In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, then-Attorney General Janet Reno announced that she would temporarily suspend the deportation of aliens from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. On December 30, 1998, the Attorney General designated TPS for undocumented Hondurans and Nicaraguans in the United States as of that date because, they maintained, Honduras and Nicaragua had such extraordinary displacement and damage from Hurricane Mitch as to warrant TPS. Prior to leaving office in January, the Clinton Administration said it would temporarily halt deportations to El Salvador. In 2001, the George W. Bush Administration decided to grant TPS to Salvadorans following two earthquakes that rocked El Salvador. Adjustment of Status Because aliens granted TPS, EVD, or DED are not eligible to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States, a special act of Congress is required for such aliens to adjust to LPR status.25 Legislation that would allow nationals from various countries that have had TPS to adjust to LPR status has been introduced in past Congresses, but not enacted. Similar provisions have also been included as part of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.26 Recent Legislation Legislation pertaining to TPS had been introduced in the 112th Congress. On January 12, 2011, the Pakistani Temporary Protected Status Act of 2011 (H.R. 285) was introduced in response to displaced persons following the massive flooding in Pakistan that occurred in July 2010. The bill would make nationals of Pakistan who had been continuously present in the United States since July 22, 2010, eligible for TPS for an initial 12-month period. Legislation that would enable Liberians to adjust to LPR status, the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 2011 (H.R. 1293/S. 656), has been introduced in both chambers and included in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011 (S. 1258). (...continued) 15715, March 30, 2010. 24 For historical analysis, see out of print CRS Report 97-810, Central American Asylum Seekers: Impact of 1996 Immigration Law, by Ruth Ellen Wasem (available upon request.) 25 earthquakes that rocked El Salvador. Over the years, the George W. Bush Administration granted, and now the Barack Obama Administration has continued to grant, TPS to Central Americans from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Their rationale has been consistent when announcing the re-designation: “There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in Nicaragua resulting from Hurricane Mitch, and Nicaragua remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”28 Similarly, the Federal Register notice re-designating Salvadoran TPS stated: “There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in El Salvador resulting from a series of earthquakes in 2001, and El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”29 25 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Filing Procedures and Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization and Related Documentation for Liberians Provided Deferred Enforced Departure,” 75 Federal Register 15715, March 30, 2010. 26 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Filing Procedures for Employment Authorization and Automatic Extension of Existing Employment Authorization Documents for Liberians Eligible for Deferred Enforced Departure,” 78 Federal Register 17423-17427, March 21, 2013. 27 For historical analysis, see out of print CRS Report 97-810, Central American Asylum Seekers: Impact of 1996 Immigration Law, by Ruth Ellen Wasem (available upon request.) 28 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Extension of the Designation of Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status,” 78 Federal Register 20128-20133, April 3, 2013. 29 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Extension of the Designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status,” 78 Federal Register 2013-12793, May 30, 2013. Congressional Research Service 7 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues Recent Legislation Legislation that would grant TPS to Filipinos (H.R. 3602, the Filipino Temporary Protected Status Act of 2013) has been introduced in the 113th Congress. The bill would provide TPS for 18months to a national of the Philippines who: (1) has been continuously physically present in the United States since November 8, 2013, (2) is admissible as an immigrant and not ineligible for TPS, and (3) registers for TPS with DHS. H.R. 3602 would also permit Filipinos with TPS to travel abroad if they establish to the satisfaction of the Secretary that emergency and extenuating circumstances beyond their control require their departure for a brief, temporary trip abroad. Because aliens granted TPS, EVD, or DED are not eligible to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States, a special act of Congress is required for such aliens to adjust to LPR status.30 Legislation that would allow nationals from various countries that have had TPS to adjust to LPR status has been introduced in past Congresses, but not enacted. Similar provisions had also been included as part of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation.31 The Senatepassed CIR legislation, S. 744, does not include specific provisions for foreign nationals with TPS to adjust status, but many would qualify for the registered provisional immigrant status that S. 744 as passed would establish.32 Author Contact Information Ruth Ellen Wasem Specialist in Immigration Policy rwasem@crs.loc.gov, 7-7342 Karma Ester Information Research Specialist kester@crs.loc.gov, 7-3036 30 For example, Congress enacted legislation in 1992 that allowed Chinese who had deferred enforced departure following the Tiananmen Square massacre to adjust to LPR status (P.L. 102-404). The 105th Congress passed legislation enabling Haitians to adjust status (P.L. 105-277). 2631 CRS Report R40848, Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 111th Congress, coordinated by Andorra Bruno; CRS Report RL34204, Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress, coordinated by Andorra Bruno; and CRS Report RS22111, Alien Legalization and Adjustment of Status: A Primer, by Ruth Ellen Wasem. Congressional Research Service 7 Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues The HALT Act (H.R. 2497/S. 1380) would, among other provisions, suspend the designation or re-designation of a country for TPS until January 2013. The House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement held a hearing on H.R. 2497 on July 26, 2011, but no further action has been taken in either chamber. Author Contact Information Ruth Ellen Wasem Specialist in Immigration Policy rwasem@crs.loc.gov, 7-7342 Congressional Research Service Karma Ester Information Research Specialist kester@crs.loc.gov, 7-3036 32 CRS Report R43097, Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Major Provisions in Senate-Passed S. 744, by Ruth Ellen Wasem. Congressional Research Service 8