Qualified Haitian immigrants can now file applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The new status will run from Aug. 3, 2021, through Feb. 3, 2023.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas previously announced this 18-month designation of TPS for Haitians on May 22. But late last week he modified this date from what was previously announced due to the situation in Haiti, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021. 

DHS says it has determined that conditions in Haiti warrant a new grant of TPS due to the deteriorating political crisis following the assassination of President Moïse, coupled with the increase in violence and human rights abuses, and rising food insecurity, malnutrition, waterborne disease epidemics and high vulnerability to natural disasters, prevent Haitian nationals and habitual residents from returning to Haiti safely.

This designation enables an estimated 100,000 additional individuals to file initial applications for TPS, if otherwise eligible. To be eligible for TPS under this designation, individuals must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since July 29, 2021.

The status will not apply to individuals who attempt to travel to the U.S. after July 29, 2021. It also will not include those Haitians now stuck in Mexico or Colombia or in other countries outside of the U.S. in Latin America, who are trying to enter the U.S. through its Southern border. DHS said they may be subject to expulsion or removal if they enter illegally.

The Biden administration’s decision came after activists and a group of House Democrats urged the administration to halt deportations and make changes to Haitian immigration policy a week after the assassination of Moïse.

The co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus, including Florida Democratic Rep. Val Demings, had written a letter to Mayorkas on July 14, arguing that Moïse’s assassination “further destabilizes the country” and justifies immediate action.

Their demands included having the Department of Homeland Security publish a notice in the Federal Register officially enforcing the Biden administration’s decision to extend Temporary Protected Status, a designation that allows Haitians in the U.S. since 2011 to live and work without the fear of deportation.

Seems like Mayorkas has now acquiesced.

This status also applies to approximately 55,000 current TPS Haiti beneficiaries, whose TPS-related documentation is automatically extended at least through Oct. 4, 2021, in compliance with court orders. Haitian beneficiaries who received TPS under the previous 2010 designation, which was slated for termination by the Trump administration, and which is the subject of ongoing litigation, are encouraged to submit new applications under the latest designation.

All individuals who want to request TPS under this designation for Haiti must file an application. Individuals applying for Haiti TPS must submit  HYPERLINK “https://www.uscis.gov/i-821” t “_blank” Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the 18-month initial registration period that runs from Aug. 3, 2021, through Feb. 3, 2023.

When filing a TPS application, applicants can also request an Employment Authorization Document by submitting a completed  HYPERLINK “https://www.uscis.gov/i-765” t “_blank” Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with their Form I-821. Applicants may also submit Form I-765 online.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.uscis.gov/” t “_blank” uscis.gov 

Haiti was originally designated for TPS in 2010, in the wake of a major earthquake. The designation was extended several times until January 2018, when the Trump administration announced it would terminate Haiti from the TPS program in 2019. The announced termination continues to be the subject of ongoing challenges in federal court, with temporary extensions granted by court order to affected Haitian nationals through Oct. 4, 2021.

The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow