Individuals hailing from select countries struggling to recover from natural disasters or overtaken by armed conflict have historically qualified for visas under the U.S.’s humanitarian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. Individuals who receive this visa can generally temporarily work and reside in the U.S., while the above-referenced issues remain a concern.
A report published by Voices of America earlier this month chronicles how many immigrants here in the U.S. on TPS visas face an uncertain future, now more than six months since President Joseph Biden was sworn into office. This worries TPS recipients, who hail from 12 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa and Latin America, including Venezuela.
What gives way to uncertainty among TPS visa holders?
Many visa recipients have been in the U.S. since the inception of the TPS program in 1990. Yet, a reassessment and renewal must occur every 18 months. This makes many recipients uncomfortable, unable to plan for their futures.
President Donald Trump tried to do away with the TPS program during his presidency. The Biden administration signed an executive order to extend the program. He also canceled the pending immediate deportations of TPS visa holders when he came into office.
There’s a push among civil rights groups for more permanency, though. Many immigrants here on TPS visas struggle in securing identification cards or driver’s licenses because of their inability to show how long their eligibility to remain in this country may last. These same individuals also have difficulty landing or retaining jobs for much the same reasons.
What does the future look like for TPS visa holders?
Many TPS visa holders are eagerly awaiting October to see what happens when there’s an expiration of court-mandated TPS extensions. Visa holders are lobbying lawmakers now in hopes that the Biden administration will ultimately create a pathway to permanent residency for these individuals.
If you believe that you qualify for a TPS visa, then you’ll want to carefully prepare your application as this may be your only chance to make it here to the U.S. If you currently have a TPS visa and you’re worried about your future status, then you may want to weigh which options that you have for solidifying your future in this country.