TPS is Temporary Protected Status – a sort of immigration status granted by the United States government to citizens of various countries as a result of conditions in their homeland. Historically this has been granted to Salvadorans, Hondurans and most recently to Haitians among others.
Yesterday President Biden extended TPS protection to citizens of Venezuela. As many as 320,000 Venezuelans living in the United States now have an 18-month reprieve from the threat of being deported. “The living conditions in Venezuela reveal a country in turmoil, unable to protect its own citizens,” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, said in a statement. “It is in times of extraordinary and temporary circumstances like these that the United States steps forward to support eligible Venezuelan nationals already present here, while their home country seeks to right itself out of the current crises.” The Los Angeles Times reports today that, “[F]leeing poverty, hunger, disease and the brutal repression of President Nicolas Maduro, more than 4 million Venezuelans have left their country to date, according to the United Nations refugee agency, and more than 800,000 have sought asylum globally.”
TPS provides work authorization and relief from deportation. It is usually restricted to individuals who have a clean criminal record and have arrived before a date certain to restrict future entrants after the designation. TPS has come under fire in recent years because despite the designation as temporary it has often lasted quite some time. Indeed, TPS status has been in place for certain Salvadorans since the designation in 2001, nearly twenty (20) years. While TPS is a welcome relief for folks it also often leaves them in limbo because it does not create a path to a green card or citizenship. However, this may change during the current administration.