Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Syrians for another 18 months to March 31, 2018. TPS is defined as “a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or to eligible persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country.”
A country receives TPS status by Secretary of Homeland Security and the president’s administration, in this case President Obama. The designation is based on “conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely , or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” Those temporary conditions can include civil war, or even environmental disasters.
Thirteen countries are currently designated for TPS: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The number of TPS holders in the U.S. today is estimated at 340,000.
The main problem with TPS is the “temporary” part. Congress has the power to extend and prolong TPS, making its title rather counterintuitive. The Migration Policy Institute explains how below in a written statement:
“Ongoing TPS renewals are a source of some controversy in the United States, as some believe that these renewals create a state of permanent temporariness for beneficiaries. Statistics indicate that some of those currently holding TPS have held that status for lengthy periods of time… [S}ome Somali TPS holders have been in the United States for more than 20 years, as Somalia’s TPS designation has been continuously renewed since 1991.”
So the likelihood Obama, Johnson and Congress will seek to extend past March of 2018 is very high, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected into office.
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