Friday, January 15, 2010

Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian Nationals

Statement from Secretary Janet Napolitano

“As part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to assist Haiti following Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, I am announcing the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. Providing a temporary refuge for Haitian nationals who are currently in the United States and whose personal safety would be endangered by returning to Haiti is part of this Administration’s continuing efforts to support Haiti’s recovery.

At this moment of tragedy in Haiti it is tempting for people suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake to seek refuge elsewhere. But attempting to leave Haiti now will only bring more hardship to the Haitian people and nation. The international community has rallied to deliver relief to Haiti. Much has already arrived and much more is on its way. The Haitians are resilient and determined and their role in addressing this crisis in their homeland will be essential to Haiti’s future.

It is important to note that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.

The Department of Homeland Security continues to extend sympathy to our Haitian neighbors and support the worldwide relief effort underway in every way we can. Four Coast Guard cutters have arrived in Haiti, in addition to a variety of Coast Guard assets that were already in the area to support military air traffic control, conduct damage assessments and rescue people in need of assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department—the lead U.S. federal agencies in the response—while coordinating the deployment of state and local Urban Search and Rescue Teams from across the country to Haiti and standing by to provide food, water and other resources as requested. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has provided aircraft to support response efforts.

Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS should go to or call the toll-free USCIS Forms Hotline (800) 870-3676.”

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the US
· Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian nationals who were in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010.

· TPS will only apply to eligible Haitians who were in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010. We urge Haitians in Haiti or elsewhere not to put their lives at additional risk by embarking on a dangerous sea voyage.

· The U.S. is strongly committed to providing humanitarian relief in Haiti, and is deeply engaged in operations currently underway to assist those affected by this catastrophe.

· Our primary focus remains on the response to the earthquake to help American citizens as well as the citizens of Haiti.


Q. Why has the U.S. just granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States? For how long will it be in effect?

· The United States is deeply concerned about the welfare of Haitians following the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and recognizes that Haitians currently in the United States cannot return there safely at this time.

· Therefore, as of January 12, 2010, any Haitians currently in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status and may stay in the U.S. for up to 18 months.

Q. What is TPS?

· Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as legislated by Congress in 1990, is a humanitarian mechanism that affords temporary immigration relief to nationals of foreign countries who cannot return home safely due to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent nationals of that country from returning home in safety.

· The Department of State continuously monitors country conditions as they relate to the statutory requirements of TPS and consults with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on a regular basis.

Q. Can Haitians who are in Haiti now come to the U.S. and receive Temporary Protected Status?
No. TPS is available for Haitians who are already in the United States - Haitians who were not in the U.S. as of January 12, 2010, or who arrived after January 12, 2010 are not eligible for TPS.

Q. What will the USG do with individual Haitian migrants who may be interdicted at sea?

We urge Haitians to stay where they are, and not embark on a dangerous sea voyage to the U.S. Those who attempt such a voyage will be repatriated.

Q. Can TPS be used as a basis for obtaining permanent resident status?
No. TPS is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status by itself or confer any other immigration status.

Q. How do Haitians who are currently in the U.S. register for TPS?
You must file both an Application for Temporary Protected Status and an Application for Employment Authorization with the appropriate fees or fee waiver requests. These forms are available at or by calling the toll-free USCIS Forms Hotline (800) 870-3676.

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