Department of Homeland Security announces Temporary Protected Status: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

TPS

The following is an announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announcing Temporary Protected Status for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

For more general information, please read our article explaining Temporary Protected Status.

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Due to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has announced his decision to designate Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months.  As a result, eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for TPS with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Federal Register notices provide details and procedures for applying for TPS and are available at www.uscis.gov/tps.

The TPS designations for the three countries are effective Nov. 21, 2014 and will be in effect for 18 months. The designations mean that eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) will not be removed from the United States and are authorized to work and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The 180-day TPS registration period begins Nov. 21, 2014 and runs through May 20, 2015.

To be eligible for TPS, applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy all eligibility criteria, including that they have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014 and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014.  Applicants also undergo thorough security checks.  Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS. The eligibility requirements are fully described in the Federal Register notices and on the TPS Web page at www.uscis.gov/tps

Liberians currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum may apply for TPS. If they do not apply for TPS within the initial 180-day registration period, they risk being ineligible for TPS because they will have missed the initial registration period. Liberians covered by DED who already possess or have applied for an EAD do not need to also apply for one related to this TPS designation. However, such individuals who are granted TPS may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.

Applicants may request that USCIS waive any or all fees based on demonstrated inability to pay by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or by submitting a written request. Fee-waiver requests must be accompanied by supporting documentation. USCIS will reject any TPS application that does not include the required filing fee or a properly documented fee-waiver request.

All USCIS forms are free. Applicants can download these forms from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms or request them by calling USCIS toll-free at 1-800-870-3676.

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Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

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Civil Rights Complaint: Asylum seekers deported in expedited removal, border patrol officers ignoring policy

There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution.

There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), in a civil rights complaint, is alleged to overlook, ignore or block refugees from claiming asylum in the U.S. Often without a hearing or proper screening people are deported through the expedited removal process, even when they express fear of persecution and seek asylum in the U.S.

Authentic asylum seekers are blacklisted when they are improperly removed.

When an immigrant arrives in the U.S., they may seek asylum and, if eligible, they may be allowed to remain in the U.S. pending the outcome of their application. One of the eligibility requirements is that the individual has not previously been subject of a removal order. If CBP is deporting immigrants with authentic asylum pleas, they will later be blocked from admission to the U.S. because they will not be eligible because of their removal order, even if it is not warranted and was issued in mistake or neglect.

There are nine individuals identified in the complaint, who were deported from the U.S. to countries where they faced persecution. All nine of them were deported without hearings, were subject to renewed persecution in their country of origin and when they returned to the U.S. they were determined ineligible because of their prior removal. These individuals now are in the status of withholding of removal, and are subject to removal orders which the government agrees to withhold indefinitely.

The civil rights complaint calls for increased officer training and oversight.

In the civil rights complaint filed on November 13th with the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, identifies CBP officers regularly thwarting the current systems and processes are the southern border officers where many Central Americans arrive in the U.S. after fleeing gangs, violence and persecution. In a statement by Keren Zwick, managing attorney for Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center reported, “CBP officers have tremendous power over the fate of people who come to our borders seeking refuge, and what comes a corresponding obligation to ensure our government does not deport anyone back to countries where they may be persecuted or tortured…Unfortunately many officers abuse that power.”

People who come to the U.S. to seek asylum often leave countries where they face persecution for their race, political, religious, sexual and other beliefs and associations. In cases, the asylum seekers fear torture and death. The single act of fleeing to the U.S. can cause serious problems for deported immigrants not able to seek asylum.

The complaint, prepared with the input from a significant collection of human rights groups and lawyers, requests that the DHS civil rights office make the following recommendations to CBP:

  1. Train CBP officers to ensure they understand the agency’s asylum screening requirements and are sensitive to the circumstances of recently arrived asylum seekers.
  2. Improve oversight to ensure officers comply with proper asylum screening procedures during the expedited removal process.
  3. Reinforce to CBP officers that they are not responsible for adjudicating individuals’ asylum claims, but must refer individuals who express a fear of persecution to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Office.

While this complaint is reviewed for consideration, many look to Capitol Hill awaiting action on immigration reform by President Obama’s executive order or an act by Congress that would fix the current outdated and broken system of immigration law and policy.

Immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley frequently represents asylum applicants at Asylum offices and immigration courts and can help asylum applicants at any part of the immigration process. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including and related options for undocumented immigrants seeking immigration relief. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.