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Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues

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Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy andOverview and Current Issues

January 17November 2, 2017 (RS20844)
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Summary

When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spotscountries around the world, concerns arise over the safetyability of foreign nationals from these troubled places who are in the United Statesin the United States from those countries to safely return. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) and other blanket forms of 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 Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, has the discretion to issue TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if conditions do not change in the designated country. Congress has also provided TPS legislatively.

The United States currently provides TPS to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of 13 countries: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Liberians have had relief from removal for the longest period, first receiving TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war, and again in 2014 due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease. On September 26, 2016, the Obama Administration announced that the TPS designation for Liberia, along with Sierra Leone and Guinea, would be terminated on May 21, 2017. Current debates have focused on whether the Administration should extend TPS to migrants from Central America because of criminal and security challenges in the region and whether it should re-designate TPS to Haiti due to effects of Hurricane Matthew.


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 the United States 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). Foreign nationals who lack proper immigration authorization are generally of three kindsThe Secretary of Homeland Security has the discretion to issue TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if conditions leading to the designating of TPS do not change. Congress has also provided TPS legislatively. A foreign national who is granted TPS receives a registration document and employment authorization for the duration of a given TPS designation.

The United States currently provides TPS to approximately 437,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. TPS for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone expired in May 2017, but certain Liberians maintain relief under an administrative mechanism known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Haiti's TPS designation was extended for an additional six months from July 22, 2017, to January 22, 2018. In September 2017, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced plans to terminate Sudan's designation on November 2, 2018, while extending South Sudan's designation by 18 months to May 2, 2019.

There is ongoing debate about whether migrants who have been living in the United States for long periods of time with TPS should receive a pathway to legal permanent resident (LPR) status. Recent policy debates have also focused on whether the Administration should extend TPS for migrants from Central America because of crime and security challenges in the region, as well as for countries in the Caribbean due to recent hurricanes and, in the case of Haiti, ongoing recovery from natural disasters. In addition, Venezuela's political and economic strife have prompted some U.S. lawmakers to call for its designation for TPS.

Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues

Background

Federal law provides that all aliens1 must enter the United States pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The two major categories of aliens in the INA are (1) immigrants, refugees, and asylees, all of whom have legal permanent residence (LPR) status, and (2) nonimmigrants, who are admitted for temporary reasons (e.g., students, tourists, temporary workers, or business travelers). Foreign nationals who lack proper immigration authorization generally fall into three categories: (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.1

As a signatory to the INA and subject to removal.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS), codified in Section 1254a of the INA, provides temporary lawful status to foreign nationals in the United States from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances that prevent their safe return. This report begins by situating TPS in the context of humanitarian responses to migration. Another form of blanket relief from removal2—Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)—is also described, as is the historical use of these relief mechanisms. The report then provides data on the countries currently designated for TPS, including the conditions that have contributed to their designation. Past legislation to provide lawful permanent resident status to certain TPS-designated foreign nationals is also described, and the report concludes with examples of activity in the 115th Congress related to TPS.

Humanitarian Response As a State Party to the 1967 United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (hereinafter, U.N. Protocol),3United 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 a migrant to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened. Nonrefoulementasserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where he/she faces serious threats to his/her life or freedom. (This is now considered a rule of customary international law.) Nonrefoulement is embodied in several provisions of U.S. immigration law. Most notably, it is reflected in theINA provisions requiring the government to withhold the removal of a migrant to a country in which the migrant's life or freedom would be threatened on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.2

Humanitarian Migrants

Humanitarian4 Such migrants may receive asylum or refugee status; however, not all humanitarian migrants are eligible for such status. The legal definition of asyluma refugee in the INA, which is consistent with the U.N. Protocol, which specifies that a refugee is a person who is unwilling or unable to return to his/her country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or 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 being5 This definition also applies to individuals seeking asylum. Under the INA, refugees and asylees differ on 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.3

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.4

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 migrant arrives safely, or is the country where the migrant 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 migrant'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 is the last alternative.

Temporary Protected Status

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is the statutory embodiment of safe haven for those migrants 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 migrants from returning, provided that granting TPS is consistent with U.S. national interests.5

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.6 To obtain TPS, eligible migrants report to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration 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 migrants 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.7

Migrants 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 a migrant registers for TPS may be used to institute exclusion or deportation proceedings upon the denial, withdrawal, or expiration of TPS.8 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 migrant receiving TPS requires a supermajority vote in the Senate (i.e., three-fifths of all Senators) voting affirmatively.9

Other Blanket Forms of Relief

In addition to TPS, there is another discretionary form of blanket relief from removal known as deferred enforced departure (DED),10 formerly known as extended voluntary departure (EVD).11 The discretionary procedures of DED and EVD have been used on a country-specific basis to provide relief the Administration feels is appropriate, usually in response to war, civil unrest, or natural disasters. Several Presidents, notably President George H.W. Bush and President Barack Obama, have cited presidential authority under the U.S. Constitution when they issued executive orders providing DED.12 The statutory authorities typically cited by the agency for DED and EVD procedures are the section of immigration law that confers prosecutorial discretion for general enforcement and the section of the law covering the authority for voluntary departure.13 When Presidents grant DED, through an executive order or presidential memorandum, they will generally provide eligibility guidelines, such as a date of arrival into the United States. Unlike TPS, the Secretary of State need not be consulted when DED is granted.

The discretionary procedures of DED continue to be used to provide relief the Administration maintains 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. In contrast to TPS, migrants who benefit from DED do not necessarily register for the status with USCIS, but they trigger the protection when they are identified for deportation. If, however, they seek to be employed in the United States, they must apply for a work authorization from USCIS.14

Nationalities Receiving Temporary Protections

The United States currently provides TPS to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of 13 countries: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The size of each country's population benefitting from TPS can vary greatly. For example, it is estimated that no more than 200 South Sudanese benefit from TPS, while it is also estimated that approximately 195,000 Salvadorans have TPS. Liberians have had relief from removal for the longest period, first receiving TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war, then designated with DED,15 and ultimately receiving TPS from November 2014 to May 2017 due to the Ebola outbreak.

Table 1. Countries Whose Nationals in the United States Currently Benefit from Temporary Protected Status

Country

Arrival Datea

Current Expiration Date

Estimated Numberb

El Salvador

February 13, 2001

March 9, 2018

195,000

Guinea

November 20, 2014

May 21, 2017

930

Haiti

January 12, 2011

July 22, 2017

50,000

Honduras

December 30, 1998

January 5, 2018

57,000

Liberia

November 20, 2014

May 21, 2017

2,160

Nepal

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2018

8,950

Nicaragua

December 30, 1998

January 5, 2018

2,550

Sierra Leone

November 20, 2014

May 21, 2017

1,180

Somalia

May 1, 2012

March 17, 2017

270

South Sudan

January 25, 2016

November 2, 2017

75-200c

Sudan

January 9, 2013

November 2, 2017

450

Syria

August 1, 2016

March 31, 2018

5,800

Yemen

January 4, 2017

September 3, 2018

1,000

Source: CRS compilation of USCIS data.

a. The arrival date represents the date from which individuals are required to continuously reside in the United States in order to qualify for TPS. The date for continuous residence is determined by the most recent TPS designation for that state. Continuous physical presence is another requirement for TPS eligibility and is a date designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. A migrant is not considered to have failed these requirements for a brief, casual, and innocent absence. 8 U.S.C. §1254a(c).

b. Estimates based upon USCIS data for designated status or work authorizations. These approximate numbers do not necessarily include all migrants 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.

c. There are approximately 50 South Sudan TPS beneficiaries and it is estimated than an additional 25-150 nationals of South Sudan (or individuals without nationality who last resided in South Sudan) may be eligible for TPS under the country's last TPS re-designation in January 2016.

Historical Patterns of Blanket Relief

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 migrants 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.

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became a new nation.16 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.17

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 George H. W. 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.

Leading Concerns

Nepal

Nepal was devastated by a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015, killing over 8,000 people. The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks demolished much of Nepal's housing and infrastructure. Over half a million homes were reportedly destroyed.18 On June 24, 2015, citing a substantial but temporary disruption in living conditions as a result of the earthquake, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson designated Nepal for TPS for an 18-month period.19 It is estimated that 8,950 nationals of Nepal were eligible for TPS under this designation. TPS for Nepal was last extended in October 2016 and is set to expire on June 24, 2018.20

Guinea and Sierra Leone

In January 2014, the Ebola virus disease was detected in West Africa, beginning in Guinea and spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone.21 On November 21, 2014, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson designated Guinea and Sierra Leone for TPS through May 21, 2016,22 citing the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.23 The Ebola outbreak, the first in West Africa, was the largest outbreak and as of November 21, 2014, over 2,400 had died in the two countries and there had been over 6,700 reported cases.24 However, on September 26, 2016, the Administration stated that the Ebola virus had subsided and that the conditions in Sierra Leone and Guinea no longer supported its designation for TPS. Therefore, TPS for Sierra Leone and Guinea was extended for an additional six months (expiring May 21, 2017) for "orderly transition" but is set to terminate thereafter.25

Syria

The political uprising of 2011 in Syria soon grew into an intensely violent civil war that had displaced over 6 million people by 2014.26 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.27 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.28 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.29 On August 1, 2016, TPS was once again extended for Syria through March 31, 2018. The extension was also accompanied by a re-designation, which updated the required arrival date30 into the United States for Syrians from January 5, 2015, to August 1, 2016.31

Yemen

The civil war in Yemen reached crisis proportions last year, and the United Nations estimated that at least 5,878 people had been killed in the violence as of December 2015.32 Additionally, relief efforts to the region have been difficult to deliver due to ongoing violence and considerable damage to the country's infrastructure. A DHS release stated that "requiring Yemeni nationals in the United States to return to Yemen would pose a serious threat to their personal safety."33 On September 3, 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson designated Yemen for TPS through March 3, 2017, due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country. On January 4, 2017, Yemen's current TPS designation was extended and re-designated through September 3, 2018. The re-designation updated the required arrival date34 into the United States for individuals from Yemen from September 3, 2015, to January 4, 2017.35 The Federal Register notice explained that the "continued deterioration of the conditions for civilians in Yemen and the resulting need to offer protection to individuals who have arrived in the United States after the eligibility cutoff dates" warranted the re-designation of TPS.36

Haiti

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.37 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."38 On July 13, 2010, Napolitano announced an extension of the TPS registration period for Haitian nationals. Citing the difficulties nationals were experiencing in obtaining documents to establish identity and nationality, and the difficulty in gathering the funds required to apply for TPS, the registration period was extended through January 18, 2011.39

Then-Secretary Napolitano extended and re-designated TPS for Haitians on May 17, 2011. The extension was effective July 23, 2011, and enabled eligible individuals who arrived up to one year after the earthquake in Haiti to receive TPS. The re-designation targeted individuals who were allowed to enter the United States immediately after the earthquake on temporary visas or humanitarian parole but were not covered by the initial TPS grant. The extension and re-designation was for a period of 18 months, through January 22, 2013.40 Subsequently, the DHS Secretary has extended the designation of Haiti for TPS several times, lastly in August 2015 (through July 22, 2017).41 In addition, after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in October 2016, advocates began to push for the re-designation of Haiti for TPS.42 The hurricane's effects were widespread, leaving 1.4 million people in need of immediate assistance.43

Liberia

Liberians in the United States have 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. Although that civil war ended, a second civil war began in 1999 and escalated in 2000.44 Approximately 10,000 Liberians in the United States were given DED in 1999 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, which he extended thereafter several times.45 Liberia's DED status was last extended through March 31, 2018, for Liberians who had been residing in the United States since October 2002.46

As noted earlier with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Liberia was once again granted TPS and the arrival period was moved up to November 2014.47 However, similar to Sierra Leone and Guinea, on September 26, 2016, DHS announced that the Ebola virus had subsided in Liberia and decided to extend its TPS designation until May 21, 2017, to allow for an "orderly transition" and terminate it thereafter.48

Central America

Whether to grant blanket relief to nationals from neighboring Central American countries has perplexed policymakers for several decades. The only time Congress has specifically granted TPS was in 1990 to nationals of El Salvador.49 In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, then-Attorney General Janet Reno announced that she would temporarily suspend the deportation of migrants 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, the Clinton Administration maintained, Honduras and Nicaragua had such extraordinary displacement and damage from Hurricane Mitch as to warrant TPS. Prior to leaving office in January 2001, 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.

Over the years, the George W. Bush Administration granted, and now the 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; for example: "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."50 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."51

However, the period of arrival for the Central Americans with TPS ended in 1999 for Guatemalans and Nicaraguans and in 2001 for Salvadorans. There is renewed pressure for the Obama Administration to move the arrival period forward to encompass the Central Americans who have fled to the United States in recent years. In FY2013, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were the top countries where credible fear was found among foreign nationals who were in expedited removal.52 Proponents of TPS for Central Americans cite the crime rates and security challenges in the region.53 Those who oppose the expansion of TPS for Central Americans maintain that the country conditions do not meet the threshold for TPS.

Adjustment of Status

Because migrants granted TPS are not eligible to become legal permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States, a special act of Congress is required for such migrants to adjust to LPR status. 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). There is a community of Liberians who have had some type of blanket relief from removal since 1991, a temporary reprieve for 25 years that has prompted legislation to adjust their status. Provisions that would have allowed nationals from various countries that have had TPS to adjust to LPR status had beendisplaced abroad to a country other than their home country apply for refugee status, while those who are in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry apply for asylum.6 Other migrants in the United States who may elicit a humanitarian response do not meet the legal definition for asylum; under certain circumstances these persons may be eligible for relief from removal through TPS or DED. Temporary Protected Status

TPS is a blanket form of humanitarian relief. It is the statutory embodiment of "safe haven" for migrants who may not meet the legal definition of refugee or asylee but are nonetheless fleeing—or reluctant to return to—potentially dangerous situations. TPS was established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-649). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary,7 in consultation with other government agencies, may designate a country for TPS under one or more of the following conditions: ongoing armed conflict in a foreign state that poses a serious threat to personal safety, a foreign state request for TPS because it temporarily cannot handle the return of nationals due to environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions in a foreign state that prevent migrants from safely returning. TPS may not be designated if the DHS Secretary finds that allowing migrants to temporarily stay in the United States is against the national interest.8

The DHS Secretary can issue TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months and can extend these periods if conditions do not change in the designated country.9 To obtain TPS, eligible migrants within the United States submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), pay specified fees,10 and receive registration documents. The application must be submitted before the deadline set forth in the Federal Register notice announcing TPS designation and must include supporting documentation as evidence of eligibility (e.g., a passport issued by the designated country and records showing continuous physical presence in the United States since the date established in the TPS designation).11 The statute specifies grounds of inadmissibility that cannot be waived, including those relating to criminal convictions and the persecution of others.12

Individuals granted TPS are not considered to be permanently residing in the United States "under color of law," may be deemed ineligible for public assistance by a state, and may travel abroad only with the prior consent of the DHS Secretary. TPS does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence or citizenship.13 DHS has made clear that information it collects when a migrant registers for TPS may be used to enforce immigration law or in any criminal proceeding.14 In addition, withdrawal of an alien's TPS may subject the alien to exclusion or deportation proceedings.15

Deferred Enforced Departure

In addition to TPS, there is another form of blanket relief from removal known as deferred enforced departure (DED),16 formerly known as extended voluntary departure (EVD).17 DED is a temporary, discretionary, administrative stay of removal granted to aliens from designated countries. Unlike TPS, DED designation emanates from the President's constitutional powers to conduct foreign relations and has no statutory basis. DED was first used in 1990 and has been used a total of five times.18 Currently, certain Liberian nationals are designated under DED through March 31, 2018.

DED and EVD have been used on a country-specific basis to provide relief from removal at the President's discretion, usually in response to war, civil unrest, or natural disasters.19 When Presidents grant DED, through an executive order or presidential memorandum, they generally provide eligibility guidelines, such as continuous presence in the United States since a specific date. Unlike TPS, the Secretary of State does not need to be consulted when DED is granted.

DED continues to be used to provide relief to those the Administration deems appropriate. The executive branch's position has been that all blanket relief decisions require balancing foreign policy, humanitarian, and immigration concerns. In contrast to recipients of TPS, migrants who benefit from DED are not required to register for the status with USCIS unless they want work authorization.20 Instead, DED is triggered when a protected migrant is identified for deportation.

Historical Patterns of Blanket Relief

In 1990, when Congress enacted the TPS statute, it also granted TPS for 18 months to Salvadoran nationals who were residing in the United States. Subsequently, the Attorney General (and, later, the DHS Secretary),21 in consultation with the State Department, granted TPS to migrants in the United States from the following countries: Liberia, Kuwait, Rwanda, Lebanon, the Kosovo Province of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Angola, Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Guinea; none of these 10 countries are currently designated for TPS.22

Rather than extending the initial Salvadoran TPS when it expired in 1992, the George H. W. Bush Administration granted DED to an estimated 190,000 Salvadorans through December 1994. The George H. W. Bush Administration also granted DED to about 80,000 Chinese nationals in the United States following the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, and these individuals retained DED status through January 1994. In December 1997, President Clinton instructed the Attorney General to grant DED to Haitian nationals in the United States for one year, providing time for the Administration to work with Congress on long-term legislative relief for Haitians.23 President George W. Bush directed that DED be provided to Liberian nationals whose TPS was expiring in September 2007; this status was extended several times by President Obama and is currently set to expire on March 31, 2018.24

Countries Designated for Temporary Protections Approximately 437,000 foreign nationals from the following 10 countries have TPS as of October 2017: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In addition, certain Liberian nationals are covered by a designation of DED (see the "Liberia" section below). Table 1 shows the current TPS-designated countries, the date from which individuals are required to have continuously resided in the United States, and the designation's expiration date. In addition, Table 1 shows the approximate number of individuals from each country who registered during the previous registration period and the number of individuals with TPS as of October 12, 2017. Table 1. TPS Beneficiaries by Country of Citizenship

As of October 2017

Country

Arrival Datea

Expiration Date

Expected Re-registrantsb Individuals with TPSc

El Salvador

February 13, 2001

March 9, 2018

195,000

262,528

Haiti

January 12, 2011

January 22, 2018

46,000

58,557

Honduras

December 30, 1998

January 5, 2018

57,000

86,031

Nepal

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2018

8,950

14,791

Nicaragua

December 30, 1998

January 5, 2018

2,550

5,306

Somalia

May 1, 2012

September 17, 2018

250

499

South Sudan

January 25, 2016

May 2, 2019

70

77

Sudan

January 9, 2013

November 2, 2018

1,040

1,048

Syria

August 1, 2016

March 31, 2018

5,800

6,916

Yemen

January 4, 2017

September 3, 2018

1,000

1,116

Total

   

317,660

436,869

Source: CRS compilation of information from Federal Register announcements and USCIS data.

a. The arrival date represents the date from which individuals are required to have continuously resided in the United States in order to qualify for TPS and is determined by the most recent TPS designation for that country. A migrant is not considered to have failed this requirement for a "brief, casual, and innocent" absence. 8 U.S.C. §1254a(c) and 8 C.F.R. §244.1. b. Data from the most recent Federal Register notices for each country. These data represent the number of individuals who registered during the previous registration period. c. Data provided to CRS by USCIS. These data reflect individuals with TPS as of October 12, 2017; include some individuals who have since adjusted to another status and may include individuals who have left the country or died; and do not necessarily include all migrants from the specified countries who are in the United States and are eligible for the status. Central America

The only time Congress has granted TPS was in 1990 (as part of the law establishing TPS) to eligible Salvadoran nationals in the United States.25 In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, then-Attorney General Janet Reno announced that she would temporarily suspend the deportation of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. On January 5, 1999, the Attorney General designated Honduras and Nicaragua for TPS due to extraordinary displacement and damage from Hurricane Mitch.26 Prior to leaving office in January 2001, the Clinton Administration said it would temporarily halt deportations to El Salvador because of a major earthquake. In 2001, the George W. Bush Administration decided to grant TPS to Salvadoran nationals following two earthquakes that rocked the country.27

Over the years, the George W. Bush Administration granted, and the Obama Administration continued to grant, TPS to Central Americans from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua on the rationale that it is still unsafe for nationals to return due to the disruption of living conditions from environmental disasters. The May 16, 2016, announcement for Nicaragua, for example, stated, "Nicaragua has experienced a series of environmental disasters that have exacerbated the persisting disruptions caused by Hurricane Mitch and significantly compromised Nicaragua's ability to adequately handle the return of its nationals."28 Similarly, the July 8, 2016, Federal Register notice redesignating El Salvador for 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

As the dates approach by which the DHS Secretary must make a decision about TPS for the Central American countries, supporters are lobbying for an extension, arguing that the ongoing violence and political unrest prevent these countries from being able to handle the return of their nationals. The arrival dates for Central Americans to be eligible for TPS are 16-19 years ago, depending on the country (see Table 1). Citing high crime rates and security challenges in the region,30 proponents of TPS for Central Americans have argued for moving the arrival dates forward to encompass those who have fled to the United States in recent years. Those who oppose the extension or expansion of TPS for Central Americans maintain that the country conditions do not meet the threshold for TPS and that an expansion would encourage illegal immigration by inspiring Central Americans to come to the United States in hopes that they would eventually be covered by TPS. Haiti

The devastation caused by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti prompted calls for the Obama Administration to grant TPS to Haitian nationals in the United States.31 The scale of the humanitarian crisis after the earthquake—with estimates of thousands of Haitians dead and reports of the total collapse of Port au Prince's infrastructure—led DHS on January 15, 2010, to grant TPS for 18 months to Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. At the time, then-DHS 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."32 On July 13, 2010, DHS announced an extension of the TPS registration period for Haitian nationals, citing difficulties nationals were experiencing in obtaining documents to establish identity and nationality, and in gathering funds required to apply for TPS.33

DHS extended the TPS designation for Haiti on May 17, 2011, enabling eligible Haitian nationals who arrived in the United States up to one year after the earthquake to receive TPS. The redesignation targeted individuals who were allowed to enter the United States immediately after the earthquake on temporary visas or humanitarian parole34 but were not covered by the initial TPS designation.35 The extension of Haiti's TPS designation was for 18 months, through January 22, 2013.36 Then-Secretary Jeh Johnson subsequently extended Haiti's designation several times, through July 22, 2017.37

A May 2, 2017, letter from members of the Congressional Black Caucus to then-Secretary John Kelly urged an 18-month extension of TPS for Haiti, citing continued recovery difficulties from the 2010 earthquake that killed over 300,000 people, an ongoing cholera epidemic, and additional damages from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.38 On May 24, 2017, then-Secretary Kelly extended Haiti's TPS designation for the minimum of six months, from its planned expiration on July 22, 2017, to January 22, 2018, and encouraged beneficiaries to prepare to return to Haiti should its designation be terminated after six months.39 An October 4, 2017, letter from the Haitian ambassador to Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke requests that Haiti's designation be extended for an additional 18 months.40

Liberia Liberians in the United States first received TPS in March 1991 following the outbreak of civil war. Although that war ended, a second civil war began in 1999 and escalated in 2000.41 Approximately 10,000 Liberians in the United States were given DED in 1999 after their TPS expired. Their DED status was subsequently extended to September 29, 2002. On October 1, 2002, Liberia was redesignated for TPS for a period of 12 months, and that status continued to be extended. On September 20, 2006, the George W. Bush Administration announced that TPS for Liberia would expire on October 1, 2007, but that this population would be eligible for DED until March 31, 2009. On March 23, 2009, President Obama extended DED for those Liberians until March 31, 2010, and several times thereafter.42 As a result of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, eligible Liberians were again granted TPS, as were eligible Sierra Leoneans and Guineans.43 On September 26, 2016, DHS issued a notice for Liberia providing a six-month extension of TPS benefits, to May 21, 2017, to allow for an "orderly transition" of affected persons' immigration status, and did the same for similarly affected Sierra Leoneans and Guineans. This action voided a previously scheduled November 21, 2016, expiration of TPS for all three countries.44

Liberia's DED status was last extended by President Obama through March 31, 2018, for a specially designated population of Liberians who had been residing in the United States since October 2002.45 Approximately 745 Liberians currently have approved employment authorization documents (EADs) under that DED directive.46 This number does not reflect all Liberians who might be covered under this DED announcement—only those who applied for and received an EAD.

Nepal

Nepal was devastated by a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25, 2015, killing over 8,000 people. The earthquake and subsequent aftershocks demolished much of Nepal's housing and infrastructure. Over half a million homes were reportedly destroyed.47 On June 24, 2015, citing a substantial but temporary disruption in living conditions as a result of the earthquake, then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson designated Nepal for TPS for an 18-month period.48 TPS for Nepal was extended in October 2016, and is set to expire on June 24, 2018.49

Somalia

Somalia has endured decades of chronic instability and humanitarian crises. Since the collapse of the authoritarian Siad Barre regime in 1991, it has lacked a viable central authority capable of exerting territorial control, securing its borders, or providing security and services to its people.50 Somalia was first designated for TPS in 1991 based on extraordinary and temporary conditions "that prevent[ed] aliens who are nationals of Somalia from returning to Somalia in safety."51 Through 22 subsequent extensions or redesignations, Somalia has maintained TPS due to insecurity and ongoing armed conflict that present serious threats to the safety of returnees. DHS announced the latest extension—for 18 months—on January 17, 2017, and its current expiration date is September 17, 2018.52

Sudan and South Sudan

Decades of civil war preceded South Sudan's secession from the Republic of Sudan in 2011.53 Citing both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that would prevent the safe return of Sudanese nationals, the Attorney General designated Sudan for TPS on November 4, 1997. Since then, Sudan has been redesignated or had its designation extended 14 times.

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became a new nation.54 With South Sudan's independence from the Republic of Sudan, questions arose about whether nationals of the new nation would continue to be eligible for TPS. In response, the DHS Secretary designated South Sudan for TPS on October 17, 2011.55 TPS has since been extended or redesignated four times due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in South Sudan, including "ongoing civil war marked by brutal violence against civilians, egregious human rights violations and abuses, and a humanitarian disaster on a devastating scale across the country."56 The latest extension was for 18 months and expires May 2, 2019.57

Meanwhile, citing improved conditions in Sudan, including a reduction in violence and an increase in food harvests, Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke announced in September 2017 that Sudan's TPS designation would expire on November 2, 2018.58

Syria

The political uprising of 2011 in Syria grew into an intensely violent civil war that displaced more than 6 million people by 2014.59 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.60 In the initial granting of TPS, Secretary Napolitano made clear that DHS would conduct full background checks on Syrians registering for TPS.61 TPS for Syrian nationals has since been extended, most recently on August 1, 2016, through March 31, 2018. The extension was also accompanied by a redesignation, which updated the required arrival date into the United States for Syrians from January 5, 2015, to August 1, 2016.62

Yemen

A civil war in Yemen reached new levels in 2017. The United Nations estimated that the civilian death toll had reached 10,000, and the World Food Program reported that 60% of Yemenis, or 17 million people, were in "crisis" or "emergency" food situations.63 Additionally, relief efforts in the region have been complicated by ongoing violence and considerable damage to the country's infrastructure. A 2015 DHS press release stated that "requiring Yemeni nationals in the United States to return to Yemen would pose a serious threat to their personal safety."64 On September 3, 2015, then-Secretary Jeh Johnson designated Yemen for TPS through March 3, 2017, due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country.65 On January 4, 2017, DHS extended and redesignated Yemen's current TPS designation through September 3, 2018. The redesignation updated the required arrival date into the United States for individuals from Yemen from September 3, 2015, to January 4, 2017.66 The Federal Register notice explained that the "continued deterioration of the conditions for civilians in Yemen and the resulting need to offer protection to individuals who have arrived in the United States after the eligibility cutoff dates" warranted the redesignation of TPS.67

Adjustment of Status

A grant of TPS does not provide a migrant with a designated pathway to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status; however, a TPS recipient is not barred from adjusting to nonimmigrant or immigrant status if he or she meets the requirements. There are limitations on Congress providing adjustment of status to TPS recipients.68

A number of examples exist of Congress providing eligibility for LPR status to groups of nationals who had been given temporary relief from removal. In 1992, Congress enacted legislation allowing Chinese nationals who had DED following the Tiananmen Square massacre to adjust to LPR status (P.L. 102-404). The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA; Title II of P.L. 105-100), which became law in 1997, provided eligibility for LPR status to certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and nationals of the former Soviet bloc who had applied for asylum and had been living in the United States for a certain period of time. The 105th Congress passed the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, enabling Haitians who had filed asylum claims or who were paroled into the United States before December 31, 1995, to adjust to LPR status (P.L. 105-277). There is also a community of Liberians who have had some type of blanket relief from removal since 1991, a temporary reprieve for 25 years that has prompted various proposals to adjust their status.

Legislation that would have allowed nationals from various countries that have had TPS to adjust to LPR status was introduced in past Congresses, but not enacted. For instance, the introduced in past Congresses, but not enacted.54 The Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform (CIR)bill in the 113th Congress (S. 744) did not include specific provisions for foreign nationals with TPS to adjust status, but many would have qualified for the registered provisional immigrant status that S. 744 as passed would have established.55

would have established.69 Selected Activity in the 115th Congress

The 115th Congress has introduced various proposals related to TPS. Some bills would extend or expand TPS designation for certain countries, or provide adjustment to LPR status for TPS recipients who have been living in the United States for several years. Other bills seek to limit the program by transferring authority from DHS to Congress to designate foreign states, making unauthorized aliens and members of criminal gangs ineligible, restricting the criteria for designating a foreign state, and making TPS recipients subject to detention and expedited removal.

Some Members of the 115th Congress have expressed support through resolutions70 or letters71 to the Administration for continuing the designation of certain countries for TPS. In addition, some Members have expressed support for designating additional countries for TPS.72

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Analyst in Immigration Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Acknowledgments

The original version of this report was written by former CRS Specialist in Immigration Policy [author name scrubbed][author name scrubbed], Senior Research Librarian, assisted in the updating of this report.

Footnotes

For example, several lawmakers submitted a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke in August 2017 urging a designation of TPS for Venezuela, citing the "increasingly dire situation" in that country, including "extreme shortages of food." Signatories argued that the Maduro regime's targeting of Venezuelans in the United States raises concerns for their safe return; Letter from Bill Nelson, U.S. Senator, Robert Menendez, U.S. Senator, and Richard J. Durbin, U.S. Senator, et al. to Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, August 29, 2017. In September 2017, 75 lawmakers submitted a request to President Trump urging him to grant TPS to foreign nationals from several countries in the Caribbean impacted by Hurricane Irma. The countries included were Barbuda, where over 90% of the island was reportedly destroyed, the Dominican Republic, and Saint Martin; Letter from Eliot L. Engel, Member of Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member of Congress, and Barbara Lee, Member of Congress, et al. to The President of the United States, September 12, 2017.

1.

Alien is the term used in law. In this report, the terms "migrant" and "alien" are used interchangeably.

2.

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)).

3.

CRS Report R41753, Asylum and "Credible Fear" Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy and CRS Report RL31269, Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy.

4.

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 migrant's justification for immigration.

5.

Section 244 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1254a).

6.

There is not a limit on the number of extensions a country can receive.

7.

8 U.S.C. §240.

8.

Ibid.

9.

Section 244(h) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1254a).

10.

DED is not considered an immigration status. Furthermore, DED is not to be confused with deferred action, which the Department of Homeland Security defines as "a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion." CRS Report R43852, The President's Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues; and CRS Report R43747, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Frequently Asked Questions.

11.

EVD status, which was used from 1960 to 1990, 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.

12.

Executive Order 12711, "Policy Implementation With Respect to Nationals of the People's Republic of China," Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George Bush XLI, President of the United States: 1989-1993 (Washington: GPO, 1990); and Memorandum for the Secretary of Homeland Security from President Barack Obama on the Subject of Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians, September 26, 2014.

13.

Section 240 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1229a); §240B (8 U.S.C. §1229c).

14.

In general, the president will direct executive agencies to provide DED and related benefits, such as employment authorization. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/About%20Us/Electronic%20Reading%20Room/Customer%20Service%20Reference%20Guide/TempProtectedStatus.pdf.

15.

Most recently, Liberia's DED designation was extended to March 2018. The White House, Presidential MemorandumDeferred Enforced Departure for Liberians, September 28, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-memorandum-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians.

16.

CRS In Focus IF10218, South Sudan and CRS In Focus IF10182, Sudan: An Overview.

17.

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.

18.

CRS Report R44303, Nepal: Political Developments and U.S. Relations.

19.

Previously, legislation was introduced in the House (Nepal Temporary Protected Status Act of 2015; H.R. 2033) that would designate Nepal for TPS.

20.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extensions of the Designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 74470-74475, October 26, 2016.

21.

CRS In Focus IF10300, Ebola in West Africa: Issues with Elimination.

22.

Liberians were also designated for TPS in the announcement. See "Liberia" below.

23.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Guinea and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status," 79 Federal Register 69502-69502, November 21, 2014; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Guinea for Temporary Protected Status," 79 Federal Register 69511-69515, November 21, 2014; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status," 79 Federal Register 69506-69511, November 21, 2014.

24.

As of April 13, 2016, the Ebola breakout in Sierra Leone and Guinea had resulted in 17,938 reported cases and 6,500 reported deaths. In addition, Liberia had 10,678 reported Ebola cases and 4,810 deaths, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Case Counts, Atlanta, GA, April 13, 2016, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/case-counts.html. See CRS In Focus IF10178, Ebola: 2014 Outbreak in West Africa.

25.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Six-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status Benefits for Orderly Transition Before Termination of Sierra Leone's Designation for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 66054-66059, September 26, 2016; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Six-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status Benefits for Orderly Transition Before Termination of Guinea's Designation for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 66064-66069, September 26, 2016.

26.

CRS Report R43119, Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response and CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response.

27.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status," 61 Federal Register 19026-19030, March 29, 2012.

28.

No nonimmigrant visa under §101(a)(15) of the INA shall be issued to any migrant 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 U.S. agencies, that such migrant does not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States.

29.

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.

30.

The arrival date represents the date from which individuals are required to continuously reside in the United States in order to qualify for TPS. The date for continuous residence is determined by the most recent TPS designation for that state.

31.

Previously, Syrians who had arrived in the United States after January 5, 2015, were not eligible for TPS. The re-designation allows Syrians that arrived between January 5, 2015, and August 1, 2016, to also be eligible for TPS. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension and Redesignation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 50533-50541, August 1, 2016.

32.

CRS Report R43960, Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention.

33.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Yemen," press release, September 3, 2015, http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-announces-temporary-protected-status-designation-yemen

34.

The arrival date represents the date from which individuals are required to continuously reside in the United States in order to qualify for TPS. The date for continuous residence is determined by the most recent TPS designation for that state.

35.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension and Redesignation of the Republic of Yemen for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 859-866, January 4, 2017.

36.

Ibid.

37.

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. The Administration of President George W. Bush did not 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.

38.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano," press release, January 15, 2010.

39.

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.

40.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Secretary Napolitano Announces Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Beneficiaries," press release, May 17, 2011.

41.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register 51582-51588, August 25, 2015.

42.

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, President Obama: Redesignate Haiti for TPS and Expand HFRP Now!, http://www.ijdh.org/2016/10/topics/immigration-topics/president-obama-redesignate-haiti-for-tps-and-expand-hfrp-now/.

43.

For more information on the effects of Hurricane Matthew on Haiti, see CRS In Focus IF10502, Haiti: Cholera, the United Nations, and Hurricane Matthew.

44.

CRS Report RL33185, Liberia's Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance, by [author name scrubbed].

45.

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.

46.

The White House, Presidential MemorandumDeferred Enforced Departure for Liberians, September 28, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-memorandum-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians.

47.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Liberia for Temporary Protected Status," 79 Federal Register 69502-69502, November 21, 2014; and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Initial Registration Period for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register, Number 122, 36551-36552.

48.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Six-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status Benefits for Orderly Transition Before Termination of Liberia's Designation for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 66059-66064, September 26, 2016.

49.

For historical analysis, see out-of-print CRS Report 97-810, Central American Asylum Seekers: Impact of 1996 Immigration Law (available upon request).

50.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status," 78 Federal Register 20128-20133, April 3, 2013.

51.

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.

52.

U.S. Congress, House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, Asylum Abuse: Is it Overwhelming our Borders?, 113th Cong., 1st sess., December 12, 2013.

53.

CRS Report R41731, Central America Regional Security Initiative: Background and Policy Issues for Congress.

54.

See archived CRS Report R40848, Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 111th Congress; archived CRS Report RL34204, Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress; and archived CRS Report RS22111, Alien Legalization and Adjustment of Status: A Primer.

55.

See archived CRS Report R43097, Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Major Provisions in Senate-Passed S. 744"Alien" is the term used in law and is defined as anyone who is not a citizen or national of the United States. A U.S. "national" is a person owing permanent allegiance to the United States and includes citizens. Noncitizen nationals are individuals who were born either in American Samoa or on Swains Island to parents who are not citizens of the United States. In this report, the terms "migrant," "alien," and "foreign national" are used interchangeably.

2.

In this report, the term "blanket relief" refers to relief from removal that is administered to a group of individuals based on their ties to a foreign country; this stands in contrast to asylum, which is relief administered on a case-by-case basis to individuals based on their personal circumstances.

3.

The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which was amended by its 1967 Protocol, defines who is a refugee and sets out the legal, social, and other kinds of protections that refugees and those seeking asylum are entitled to receive. It also states the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum. United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and Its 1967 Protocol, Geneva, Switzerland, http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/about-us/background/4ec262df9/1951-convention-relating-status-refugees-its-1967-protocol.html.

4.

Section 208 of INA (8 U.S.C. §1158); Section 241(b)(3) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1231); and Section 101(a)(42) of INA (8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(42)).

5.

INA §101(a)(42).

6.

See CRS Report R41753, Asylum and "Credible Fear" Issues in U.S. Immigration Policy; and CRS Report RL31269, Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Policy.

7.

When TPS was enacted in 1990, most immigration-related functions, including designating countries for TPS, fell under the authority of the Attorney General. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 (P.L. 107-296), most of the Attorney General's immigration-related authority transferred to the DHS Secretary as of March 1, 2003.

8.

INA §244(b)(1).

9.

There is no limit on the number of extensions a country can receive.

10.

Fees for initial applicants include a $50 application fee (may not exceed $50 per 9 U.S.C. §1254a (c)(1)(B)), an $85 biometrics services fee for those age 14 and over, and a $410 filing fee for employment authorization (if applying for employment authorization and between the ages of 14 and 65). Applicants may request a waiver of the application and biometrics fees per 8 C.F.R. 103.7(c). Re-registration does not require the $50 application fee.

11.

See 8 C.F.R. §244.9 for details on evidence that must be submitted.

12.

Section 212 of the INA specifies broad reasons for which foreign nationals are considered ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States. Section 244(c) in the TPS statute lists which of these "grounds of inadmissibility" may be waived and which may not be waived.

13.

For purposes of adjustment to legal permanent residence status or change to nonimmigrant status, an alien granted TPS is considered as being in and maintaining "lawful status as a nonimmigrant." INA §244(f).

14.

8 C.F.R. §244.16.

15.

9 C.F.R. §244.14.

16.

DED is not to be confused with deferred action, which the Department of Homeland Security defines as "a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion." See CRS Report R43852, The President's Immigration Accountability Executive Action of November 20, 2014: Overview and Issues; and CRS Report R43747, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): Frequently Asked Questions.

17.

EVD status, which was used from 1960 to 1990, has been given to nationals of Poland, Nicaragua, Iran, Uganda, and Lebanon. 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.

18.

See "Historical Patterns of Blanket Relief."

19.

For example, Executive Order 12711, "Policy Implementation With Respect to Nationals of the People's Republic of China," Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George Bush XLI, President of the United States: 1989-1993 (Washington: GPO, 1990); and The White House (President Obama), "Presidential Memorandum—Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians," Memorandum for the Secretary of Homeland Security, September 28, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-memorandum-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians.

20.

In general, the President directs executive agencies to implement procedures to provide DED and related benefits, such as employment authorization. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/About%20Us/Electronic%20Reading%20Room/Customer%20Service%20Reference%20Guide/TempProtectedStatus.pdf.

21.

With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002 (P.L. 107-296), most of the Attorney General's immigration-related authority transferred to the Secretary of DHS as of March 1, 2003.

22.

For current and historical information on TPS designations by country and links to Federal Register announcements, see U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Temporary Protected Status, at https://www.justice.gov/eoir/temporary-protected-status.

23.

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA; Title II of P.L. 105-100) was enacted in 1997 and provided eligibility for lawful permanent resident status to certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Guatemalans, El Salvadorans, and nationals of the former Soviet bloc who had applied for asylum and had been living in the United States for a certain period of time. President Clinton, among others, argued that Haitians deserved similar legislative treatment. The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA; P.L. 105-277) was enacted in 1998, allowing Haitian nationals who had been paroled into the United States before December 31, 1995, or who had applied for asylum before that date, to adjust to LPR status. For more information, see archived CRS Report RS21349, U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants.

24.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "DED Granted Country - Liberia," https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/deferred-enforced-departure/ded-granted-country-liberia/ded-granted-country-liberia.

25.

For historical analysis, see archived CRS Report IB87205, Immigration Status of Salvadorans and Nicaraguans (available upon request).

26.

Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, "The Designation of Honduras Under Temporary Protected Status," 64 Federal Register 524-526, January 5, 1999; Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, "The Designation of Nicaragua Under Temporary Protected Status," 64 Federal Register 526-528, January 5, 1999.

27.

Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, "The Designation of El Salvador Under Temporary Protected Status," 66 Federal Register 14214-14216, March 9, 2001.

28.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of Nicaragua for Temporary Protected Status,"81 Federal Register 30325-30331, May 16, 2016.

29.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 44645-44651, July 8, 2016.

30.

For information on country conditions, see CRS Report R43616, El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations; CRS Report R44560, Nicaragua: In Brief, and CRS Report RL34027, Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations.

31.

The issue of Haitian TPS had arisen several times in earlier 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. The George W. Bush Administration did not 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 of Haitian TPS have argued that it would result in an immigration "amnesty" for the unauthorized Haitians and foster illegal migration from the island. For background information on Haitian migration to the United States, see archived CRS Report RS21349, U.S. Immigration Policy on Haitian Migrants. For conditions in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, see archived CRS Report R41023, Haiti Earthquake: Crisis and Response; and CRS In Focus IF10502, Haiti: Cholera, the United Nations, and Hurricane Matthew.

32.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano," press release, January 15, 2010.

33.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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.

34.

Parole allows an individual, who may be inadmissible or otherwise ineligible for admission into the United States, to be granted authorization to enter the United State for a temporary period; INA §212(d)(5) (8 U.S.C. §1182(d)(5)).

35.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension and Re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status," 76 Federal Register 29000-29004, May 19, 2011.

36.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Secretary Napolitano Announces Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Beneficiaries," press release, May 17, 2011.

37.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register 51582-51588, August 25, 2015.

38.

For conditions following Hurricane Matthew, see CRS In Focus IF10502, Haiti: Cholera, the United Nations, and Hurricane Matthew.

39.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 23830-23837, May 24, 2017.

40.

Letter from Paul G. Altidor, Ambassador to the United States from Haiti, to Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, October 4, 2017.

41.

See CRS Report RL33185, Liberia's Post-War Development: Key Issues and U.S. Assistance.

42.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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; The White House (President Obama), "Presidential Memorandum—Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians," Memorandum for the Secretary of Homeland Security, September 28, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-memorandum-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians.

43.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Liberia for Temporary Protected Status," 79 Federal Register 69502-69502, November 21, 2014; and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of the Initial Registration Period for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register, Number 122, 36551-36552, June 25, 2015.

44.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Six-Month Extension of Temporary Protected Status Benefits for Orderly Transition Before Termination of Liberia's Designation for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 66059-66064, September 26, 2016.

45.

The White House (President Obama), "Presidential Memorandum—Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians," Memorandum for the Secretary of Homeland Security, September 28, 2016, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/28/presidential-memorandum-deferred-enforced-departure-liberians.

46.

Numbers provided to CRS by USCIS.

47.

See CRS Report R44303, Nepal: Political Developments and U.S. Relations.

48.

U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Nationalization Service, "Designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register 36346-36350, June 24, 2015.

49.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extensions of the Designation of Nepal for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 74470-74475, October 26, 2016.

50.

See CRS In Focus IF10155, Somalia.

51.

U.S. Department of Justice, Immigration and Nationalization Service, "Designation of Nationals of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status," 56 Federal Register 46804-46805, September 16, 1991.

52.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extensions of the Designation of Somalia for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 4905-4911, January 17, 2017.

53.

See CRS In Focus IF10182, Sudan: An Overview.

54.

See CRS In Focus IF10218, South Sudan.

55.

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.

56.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 44205-44211, September 21, 2017.

57.

Ibid.

58.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Termination of the Designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 47228-47234, October 11, 2017.

59.

See CRS Report R43119, Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response; and CRS Report RL33487, Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response.

60.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of Syrian Arab Republic for Temporary Protected Status," 61 Federal Register 19026-19030, March 29, 2012.

61.

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.

62.

Previously, Syrians who had arrived in the United States after January 5, 2015, were not eligible for TPS. The redesignation allows Syrians that arrived between January 5, 2015, and August 1, 2016, to also be eligible for TPS. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension and Redesignation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status," 81 Federal Register 50533-50541, August 1, 2016.

63.

See CRS Report R43960, Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention.

64.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status Designation for Yemen," press release, September 3, 2015, http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-announces-temporary-protected-status-designation-yemen.

65.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Designation of the Republic of Yemen for Temporary Protected Status," 80 Federal Register 53319-53323, September 3, 2015.

66.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Extension and Redesignation of the Republic of Yemen for Temporary Protected Status," 82 Federal Register 859-866, January 4, 2017.

67.

Ibid.

68.

INA §244(h) states that the consideration of any bill, resolution, or amendment that provides for the adjustment to lawful temporary or lawful permanent resident status for any TPS recipient requires a supermajority in the Senate (i.e., three-fifths of all Senators) voting affirmatively.

69.

See archived CRS Report R43097, Comprehensive Immigration Reform in the 113th Congress: Major Provisions in Senate-Passed S. 744.

70.

For example, H.Con.Res. 4 was introduced in January 2017, expressing support for TPS for Haitians.

71.

For example, a May 2017 letter from the 47 House members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged DHS to extend Haiti's TPS designation by 18 months; Letter from Yvette D. Clarke, Member of Congress, Cedric Richmond, Member of Congress, and Mia Love, Member of Congress, et al. to The Honorable John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, May 2, 2017. Twenty-six Senators also signed onto a letter in July 2017 urging the Administration to continue extending the TPS designations for all 10 currently designated countries, citing challenges with recovery efforts after natural disasters, high crime levels, and ongoing armed conflict. The letter also described economic contributions made by TPS holders to the U.S. economy as well as to the rebuilding efforts in their countries of origin through remittances; Letter from Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator, Robert Menendez, United States Senator, and Edward J. Markey, United States Senator, et al. to The Honorable Rex Tillerson and The Honorable John F. Kelly, U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, July 18, 2017. A September 2017 letter from a bipartisan group of 116 lawmakers called on the Administration to extend TPS for El Salvador and Honduras due to the ongoing violence and political unrest following natural disasters in both countries; Letter from James P. McGovern, Member of Congress, Randy Hultgren, Member of Congress, and Norma Torres, Member of Congress, et al. to Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, September 11, 2017. Twenty-one Democratic Senators (and one Independent) submitted a letter in October 2017 urging the Administration to extend TPS for El Salvador and Honduras, pointing out the national security and economic interests of the United States; Letter from Ben Cardin, U.S. Senator, Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Senator, and Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator, et al. to Honorable Rex Tillerson and Honorable Elaine C. Duke, Secretary of State and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, October 19, 2017.

72.