By Nelson A. King
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) says Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for eligible nationals of Haiti for an additional 18 months, effective Jul. 23, 2014 through Jan. 22, 2016.
USCIS said on Monday that current Haitian beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Mar. 3, 2014, through May 2, 2014.
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day period begins,” it said here in a statement.
USCIS said the 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
It said eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of Jan. 22, 2016.
USCIS said it “recognizes that some re-registrants may not receive their new EADs until after their current EADs expire.
“Therefore, USCIS is automatically extending current TPS Haiti EADs bearing a Jul. 22, 2014 expiration date for an additional six months,” it said. “These existing EADs are now valid through Jan. 22, 2015.”
To re-register, USCIS said current TPS beneficiaries must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.
It said re-registrants do not need to pay the Form I-821 application fee, but they must submit the biometric services fee, or a fee-waiver request, if they are age 14 or older.
All TPS re-registrants must also submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, USCIS said.
It said TPS re-registrants requesting an EAD must submit the Form I-765 application fee, or a fee-waiver request. If the re-registrant does not want an EAD, no application fee is required, USCIS said.
It said applicants may request that USCIS waive the Form I-765 application fee or biometrics fee based on an inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request.
USCIS said fee waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation.
“Failure to submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request will result in the rejection of the TPS application,” it warned.
The Obama administration had suspended deportation of undocumented Haitians living in the U.S. soon after a massive earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, granting TPS to tens of thousands of Haitians.
Three days after the massive earthquake struck the impoverished, French-speaking Caribbean country, then Secretary of State Janet Napolitano announced the original designation of TPS for eligible Haitian nationals, who had continuously resided in the United States. It became effective on Jan. 21, 2010.
U.S. officials said about 50,000 Haitian nationals with TPS reside in the United States.
They warn that any Haitian, who has been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States, or is subject to one of the criminal or security-related bars to admissibility under immigration law, is not eligible for TPS.
In addition, U.S. officials say an applicant cannot obtain TPS if he or she is subject to one of the mandatory bars to asylum, such as committing a “particularly serious crime that makes the person a danger to the U.S. community or persecuting others.”
“I applaud the Department of Homeland Security’s prompt re-designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status,” Brooklyn Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene told Caribbean Life.
“This decision will allow Haitian immigrants residing here in the United States to continue working to provide for their families and loved ones without disruption,” added Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District in Brooklyn. “Compassion and respect for immigrants is the legacy of America.
“Our great country was founded on good morals and consideration for our fellow man,” he continued. “It is in our nature to reach out to those who are suffering and uplift them during the darkest of times.
“I would like to thank both President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson for embracing these values and for continuing their unwavering support of Haiti,” Eugene said.