On January 15, 2010, the Obama administration announced that it would grant Temporary Protected Status (or TPS) to Haitian nationals in the United States. The grant of TPS was the result of intense pressure to enable Haitians to remain in the US in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake.TPS is granted to immigrants from certain countries who cannot safely return to their homelands because of natural disasters, armed conflicts or other emergencies. Those eligible are allowed to remain in the United States for specific periods, and provides for work authorization. Although the status is granted for a period of time, TPS status is often renewed indefinitely.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated, “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.” Haitians who arrive after January 12th are not eligible to apply.
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security has designated citizens from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia and Sudan eligible for TPS.