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New Settlement Over Unlawful Trump-Era Policy Will Help Restore a Pathway to Citizenship for TPS Beneficiaries 

Permanent Residence for TPS Beneficiaries

Throughout its entire four years in the White House, the Trump administration sought to restrict legal immigration. Frankly, most of Trump’s immigration policies were rooted in discrimination and prejudice. In contrast, President Biden has put forth and enacted legislation that has created new ways for immigrants to legally enter the U.S and become full-fledged citizens. Furthermore, the Biden administration has acted on a number of fronts to reverse Trump-era restrictions on immigration to the United States.

On March 25, 2022, we witnessed another win for immigrants looking to make America their home. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agreed to restore a path to permanent residency for many TPS beneficiaries here in the United States who were previously blocked by Trump’s then-acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli, whose appointment was eventually deemed illegal by a federal court. Declaring the updates simply as clarification, the December 2019 policy change under Trump was one of the administration’s many efforts to eliminate TPS protections for tens of thousands of beneficiaries. 

What Is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries experiencing problems – ongoing armed conflicts, environmental disasters, and extraordinary and temporary conditions – that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported back home. TPS has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States by providing a work permit and stay of deportation.

So What’s the Good News

Because of this new agreement with USCIS, TPS beneficiaries impacted by this policy will be able to reopen and dismiss their removal orders and apply to adjust their status to become permanent residents—eliminating the threat of deportation if their TPS protections are revoked in the future.

What Initiated the Change?

The agreement is the result of a new settlement in CARECEN v. Cuccinelli, a lawsuit filed in August 2020 by TPS beneficiaries and advocates over the unlawful Trump-era policy. The lawsuit was championed by Democracy Forward, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Montagut & Sobral, PC, and the law office of Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP. Seven Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries and the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) sued the Trump administration for unlawfully denying tens of thousands of TPS beneficiaries the opportunity to take steps to adjust their immigration status and become permanent residents. Each with their own journeys, the seven immigrants with TPS who had departed the U.S., returned lawfully under a grant of advance parole and should have been eligible to become legal permanent residents. 

The lawsuit alleged that the change made by the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Immigration and Nationality Act. Further proof of the Trump administration’s racial and anti-immigrant bias.

Here’s What the Advocates Had to Say

In recognition of the blatant discrimination put forward by Trump and the negative impact his policy change had on those seeking permanent U.S. residence, the parties involved shed some light on what this new policy means to TPS beneficiaries and their families. 

“Today’s agreement will allow TPS beneficiaries—many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades and built deep roots in their communities—to once again seek permanent residency and extinguish the threat of deportation if their TPS protections are revoked,” said Democracy Forward Senior Counsel John Lewis. “The Trump administration’s policy illegally sought to destabilize the lives of tens of thousands with TPS protections. We’re proud to have helped restore protections that ensure our neighbors have a path to pursue permanent residency.”

“This victory will change the lives of those individuals impacted,” stated Abel Nuñez, Executive Director of CARECEN. “As an organization, we are proud of our continued efforts to defend our community as they integrate into their new home in the U.S. CARECEN will work with those TPS members that qualify under the settlement and also keep fighting to ensure that all TPS beneficiaries who have been in the U.S. for over 20 years and have complied with everything that has been asked of them are able to apply for legal permanent residence.”

The Law Office Of Michele Alcalde Can Assist Immigrants Throughout the Temporary Protected Status Application Process

Situations can occur when foreign nationals residing in the United States would jeopardize their safety by returning to his or her home country because of war or other armed conflict, environmental disasters, or an outbreak of disease. In these situations, an individual may be eligible to stay in the U.S. as a beneficiary of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). But like so many immigration policies and procedures, the TPS application process can be inundating and arduous. Michele Alcalde and her experienced staff know the ins and outs of immigration law and can help TPS beneficiaries stay in the country, obtain work authorization, and seek a path toward permanent residence and the promise of citizenship. Michele’s deep knowledge of immigration law combined with the special rapport she builds with her clients, can prevent the separation of families, and brings a sense of security during these stressful times. Find us on our social media accounts or call us at 732.766.1407.

Posted in: Immigration