Protected status renewed for Central Americans, urged for Haitians

On Sept. 24, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of El Salvador through Sep. 9, 2010. The extension allows Salvadorans who have already been granted TPS to re-register and maintain their status for an additional 18 months. An estimated 229,000 Salvadorans are eligible for re-registration. They have 90 days to re-register for the special status, which was set to expire on Mar. 9, 2009. TPS does not apply to Salvadoran nationals who entered the US after Feb. 13, 2001. (USCIS update, Sept. 24)

On Sept. 26, USCIS announced it will extend TPS through July 5, 2010, for an estimated 3,500 Nicaraguans and 70,000 Hondurans who are eligible for re-registration; they have 60 days to re-register. Their status was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2009. TPS does not apply to Nicaraguans or Hondurans who entered the US after Dec. 30, 1998. (USCIS update, Sept. 26)

About 100 people held a candlelight vigil on Oct. 3 in front of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building in West Palm Beach, Florida to advocate for temporary protected status for Haitians, whose homeland has been devastated by four major tropical storms since August. (Houston Chronicle, Oct. 4) “I just don’t know how dire conditions have to become before the US government is willing to grant Haiti this long-merited assistance,” said US Rep. Alcee Hastings, Democrat of Miramar, one of 31 members of Congress actively urging the government to grant TPS for Haitians. ICE temporarily stopped deporting Haitians in September, but the suspension could end at any moment, and it doesn’t allow out-of-status immigrants from Haiti to work legally. On Oct. 3, pushed by local activists, Haitian President René Préval made his first public request for TPS since the recent storms. (South Florida Sun Sentinel, Oct. 13)

From Immigration News Briefs, Oct. 21

See our last posts on Central America, Haiti and the politics of immigration.