What is TPS?

You may have heard about TPS in the news lately, and perhaps you’ve wondered what it is. It’s one of those things you don’t expect to be in the news, but with the heightened focus on immigrants and immigration, any immigration matter gets press. So, what is TPS?

TPS, or Temporary Protected Status, is part of the legal immigration system that permits the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily protect nationals present in the United States from having to return to their countries of origin. Why would they protect people from these countries? The most common reasons that the department of homeland security protects certain nationals is due to warfare or natural disaster that makes their home countries unsafe for their return.

It’s important, now, to debunk A few myths about TPS.

1. TPS causes more people from those countries to enter the United States illegally.

This is simply not so. In order to be eligible for TPS, one has to be present in the United States on the day in which their country is designated as temporarily protected. There is also a very strict deadline that one must adhere to when applying for TPS. In this way TPS is only available to individuals already present in the United States.

2. TPS is refugee status. 

Again, this myth is false. TPS is temporary, where refugee status is permanent. Refugee status is granted before one enters the United States and can lead to permanent residency and eventually citizenship. TPS is awarded to people in the United States and is temporary. When the Department of Homeland Security chooses not to renew a TPS designation those who have TPS from that country revert to their previous status. That means they either go back to their original visas or would become undocumented and be expected to leave.

3. TPS allows people to live here forever. 

While it is true that some countries’ TPS designations can last for many many years, it is untrue that TPS allows people to live here indefinitely. At any moment the government can decide to end a TPS designation and those nationals would be expected to return home. It should fall upon us to wonder if more permanent solutions are needed for nationals of countries that remain in perpetual disorder.

TPS is an important part of our immigration system that allows us to protect individuals whose life would be in danger if they were to return home. It’s important that we know the facts, and that we not fall victims to misinformation.

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