When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of foreign nationals residing in the United States who are from these troubled places. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary protected status (TPS) or relief from removal under specified circumstances. A foreign national who is granted TPS receives a registration document and an employment authorization for the duration of TPS. The United States currently provides TPS or deferred enforced departure (DED) to over 300,000 foreign nationals from a total of eight countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and most recently Southern Sudan and Syria.
This report discusses Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which is offered to nationals of designated countries who due to civil unrest, natural disasters, and armed conflicts cannot safely return home. This report begins by situating TPS in the context of humanitarian responses to migration. Another form of blanket relief from removal--Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)--is also described, as is the historical use of these relief mechanisms. The report then provides data on the countries currently designated for TPS, including the conditions that have contributed to their designation. Past legislation to provide lawful permanent resident status to certain TPS-designated foreign nationals is also described, and the report concludes with examples of activity in the 115th Congress related to TPS.
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