Activists say the move simply exacerbates their immigration battle.
Most Americans support immigration reform.
Photo: Aurelia Ventura / Impremedia / La Opinion
Thousands of TPSians received as a bucket of cold water the sudden news from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announcing that legal entry after August 20, 2020 will no longer count towards fixing their legal residency in the future.
The USCIS said in a Policy Memorandum that beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who travel abroad using a travel document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will generally retain the same immigration status upon return that they had on the time of departure.
According to the USCIS, legal re-entry into the country will no longer meet the “inspected and admitted or paroled” eligibility requirement to obtain an adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence.
Abdulio Funes has lived in the United States for about 26 years and since 2001 he obtained his TPS, which he has constantly renewed until now. The Salvadoran said that he disagrees that the opportunity to fix the immigration situation is closed to them because to begin with, they should no longer be considered temporary residents in the United States.
“More than 20 years have passed and we should already have a permanent solution,” Funes said. “Many TPSians own homes, businesses, their children are born here. We no longer have anything in our countries ”.
Funes added that this news simply exacerbates the struggle while waiting to know what the future of TPS will be.
At this time, the appeal court of the 9th district in Pasadena is in charge of making the final decision on the continuation or detention of TPS. If voted against, TPS would expire on January 4, 2021, leaving thousands of TPSians without immigration status.
It is estimated that there are around 200,000 Salvadorans covered by TPS, 30,000 Hondurans, and some 10,000 Nicaraguans.
Over the years for many TPSianos the solution was to arrange their permanent residence through a family member who could petition for it.
USCIS Deputy Director of Policy Joseph Edlow said Temporary Protected Status is by its very nature temporary
“It should not provide a path to citizenship or lawful permanent resident status,” Edlow said. “Misinterpretation and inconsistent application of this law has previously allowed those avenues for foreign TPS recipients.”
What happens now?
Immigration attorney Alma Rosa Nieto said that TPSians who have entered the United States with Advance Parole (AP) before August 20 will not be affected and still have the opportunity to fix their immigration status with entry. considered legal.
Nieto assured that so far the ability of the right to leave and enter with the Advance Parole does not change, what changes is how they will define the entry that will no longer be legal and will not help in case they want to apply for residence after returning .
“If they requested the travel permit, for example, on August 19 and they travel on August 27, then their entry would no longer apply as legal entry because the rule would already come into force,” said the lawyer.
However, Nieto stressed that TPSians living in the sixth or ninth district can still try to adjust their immigration status even if they have not left the country.
Additionally, he recommended that for now those who wish to leave with the permit can do so as long as they have a clean record. Otherwise, she recommends great caution.
“If they have previous crimes or problems with immigration, they should get advice before leaving. The one that issues the AP is USCIS and the one that will decide whether or not to enter is Custom Border Patrol, “said the lawyer. “So TPSianos can have an entry permit, but if CBPs find that they have a DUI or domestic violence –among other types of crimes- they can deny them entry into the country because they are considered a threat to society or interests. of the nation ”.