DHS Announces Temporary Protected Status for Ukraine

The Department of Homeland Security has decided that Ukrainians who are already in the United States will be allowed to file for temporary protected status, which would allow these people to remain in the United States during the time this status applies. The Department of Homeland Security is designating Ukraine with this status due to the Russian attack on this country.

This action will leave Ukraine joining the 12 countries that currently have TPS statuses, such as Venezuela and South Sudan. This new designation will go into effect simultaneous to the publication date of the upcoming notice in the Federal Register. This notice will also provide those eligible with instructions to apply for temporary protected status as well as for Employment Authorization Documents which will be critical for acquiring employment within the US.

Temporary protected status is given to people in the United States that would be subjected to extreme hardship if they had to go back to a country that is dealing with a natural disaster or armed conflict. The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security holds the authority to designate a country as having temporary protected status (TPS). So this status only applies to those people who are already in the United States.

By allowing people from Ukraine in the United States to file for temporary protected status, approximately 75,000 Ukrainians in this country should be eligible to file for this status. This is twice the amount of people previously expected to be able to file. Individuals from Ukraine who wish to file need to have resided continuously in the United States from the 1st of March in order to be eligible to file for this status. The designation of temporary protected status will apply for 18 months.

Since visas only apply for a temporary period of time, allowing Ukrainians to apply for TPS is important as it will keep them from being deported should their visas expire. The current administration had been under a lot of pressure to protect Ukrainians in the United States who were not able to return to their country due to the war with Russia.

On Thursday, the Immigration and Customs enforcement stated that it had paused deportation flights to Ukraine because of the current crisis. A spokesman from the agency stated, “Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis occurring in Ukraine, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has paused repatriation flights to Ukraine. ICE will continue to monitor the ongoing situation and make operational changes as necessary.”

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