In gathering resources, the goal of UWS is to provide informational survival tools for dealing with these challenging times, including instructional national news articles and government-sourced data. Here we assemble everything needed for Dreamers from how to apply and renew DACA, with a calculator included, to the requirements for Advanced Parole. We cover the guidelines for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and we separate immigration facts from myths for an audience of all Americans. 
Note: All DACA info found here emanates form President Obama’s 2012 Executive Order and will be updated with President Biden’s directives and new legislation working its way through Congress.


  • The highest shares of the 11.4-million Undocumented reside in California (28%), Texas (13%), New York (8%) and Florida (6%). Together the top four states account for about 55% of all the Undocumented.
  • Of the more than 11 million, just over half are from Mexico — combined with the 1.7 million from Central America and the percentage rises to two-thirds of the total; 12% are from Asia.
  • One-quarter to one-third of us enter the country legally and overstay our visas.
  • The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 1.49 million unauthorized young people are eligible to apply for the expanded DACA program because they meet both age and education criteria.
  • Approximately 5 million qualify for deferred action after the President’s 2014 executive order, with 4 million of those coming from DAPA.
  • Over 727,000 applications for DACA have been accepted from 2012 through late 2014.
  • With the announcement of DAPA in November 2014, DACA was expanded to qualify an additional 300,000.
  • About 60% of those eligible for DACA have not applied.
  • There are 6.3 million children who live in a household with a DAPA-eligible parent and 5.5 million of these children are U.S. citizens.
  • California has the highest number of DAPA-eligible parents — over 1.1 million.


History of DACA

DACA was created by President Barack Obama through executive order in 2012 as a stop gap measure to protect Dreamers until Congress took action. DACA offers deferred action from deportation for 700,000 young people, as well many other benefits. Over the last 20 years, 11 versions of the Dream Act have come before Congress and all have failed to pass. The Dream Act of 2017 died in the Senate and left the issue unsettled under the Trump administration, which in the same year tried to rescind DACA, a move immediately fought in the courts and saved only by an injunction until it could reach the Supreme Court. In 2020 the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump decision. However, Trump’s administration refused to process new applicants and made renewals more frequent. Under a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting both initial/new and renewal requests for deferred action under DACA. Terms of DACA will be the same as before it was rescinded on September 5, 2017.

In 2018, a lawsuit brought against the federal government by nine Republican-led states asserted that Obama’s action overstepped his authority and that DACA was unlawful. In  a March 2021 hearing, lawyers involved in the case discussed President Biden’s memorandum to DHS to fortify and strengthen DACA. The court could rule on this lawsuit anytime in the near future. Action in March also included the House of Representatives passing the American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for all DACA recipients and Dreamers who have not enrolled, promising permanent legal status in exchange for higher education, work or military service. This legislation now faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

There are two versions of the Dream Act currently before Congress: the Dream Act of 2021 (S.264) and a version that is incorporated into a larger bill known as the Dream and Promise Act of 021 (H.R.6).

Both bills would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers. H.R. 6 would also provide a path to citizenship for beneficiaries of two humanitarian programs: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

Note: All DACA info found here emanates form President Obama’s 2012 Executive Order and will be updated with President Biden’s directives and new legislation working its way through Congress.

The News Can Be a Lifeline


Debating the big questions on immigration: What rights do immigrants have — and is the president free to bar them?

(Credit: Getty)

Originally published by SALON

Anis Shivani

Big changes are afoot on immigration policy as the right continues to deploy its familiar talking points, feeding into the Trump punitive juggernaut. Unfortunately, the current public discourse – whether around the Muslim ban or the expulsion of criminal aliens – remains mostly free of historical, legal and philosophical nuance.


What immigrant advocates want you to do if ICE agents come to your door

Originally published by CNN

The sudden and unexpected deportation of undocumented Mexican immigrant Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos has sparked fears that President Donald Trump is beginning to fulfill his campaign promise to expel 11 million people from the United States.



Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Originally published by Slate.com

Henry Grabar

On Sunday, Feb. 26, the sermon at the Spanish-language Mass in Waterloo, Iowa, was about fear. Like many Catholic churches, the tan-brick, gothic Queen of Peace serves as a community center for Hispanic immigrants in this Cedar River town of 68,000. Waterloo has a claim to be Iowa’s most diverse big city.

The DREAM Act of 2017

The bipartisan Dream Act would allow a select group of immigrant students who grew up in the United States to contribute more fully to the country they love. These young people, known as Dreamers, have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here. They grew up pledging allegiance to the American flag and singing the Star Spangled Banner. They are American in every way except for their immigration status. Under current law they live in fear of deportation and cannot fully realize their potential or utilize their talents in service to the communities, cities, and nation they call home.

The Dream Act would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they:

  • Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
  • Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
  • Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least 3 years, or serve in the military;
  • Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
  •  Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
  •  Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.

We have already invested in these young people by educating them in our schools and they are now a vital part of our workforce, contributing to our economic growth and our society as teachers, engineers, nurses, and small business owners. Unfortunately, even though many would like to serve, almost all are restricted from earning the designation of United States Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine. It’s past time we remedy that unnecessary prohibition. It makes no sense to squander these young people’s talents – and penalize our own nation – by deporting them to countries they barely remember.

We can allow a generation of young immigrants with great potential and ambition to contribute more fully to our society, economy, and national security, or we can lose their talents to foreign competitors. The Dream Act would offer a path to earned citizenship and a brighter future for these young people and our nation.



  • Came to the United States before reaching our 16th birthday.
  • Meet all other requirements regardless of our age under expanded DACA (original age cap was under the age of 31).
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since January 1, 2010.
  • Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or our lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.
  • Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. armed services.
  • Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.


  • Relief from deportation and the ability to stay in the United States with our families U.S. EAD (Employment Authorization Document) or work permit, which allows us to apply for a Social Security card
  • Renewal under expanded DACA lengthened from two to three years
  • Ability to apply simultaneously for DACA and advance parole to travel internationally


DAPA was blocked in the courts and eventually made its way to the Supreme Court where a split decision left the injunction in place, failing to offer deferred action to millions whose children are U.S. citizens. In June 2017, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded DAPA and left the four-million immigrant parents, who would have qualified, in danger of deportation.


  • Have a child who was a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident as of November 20, 2014.
  • Have lived continuously in the United States since January 1, 2010, until the present.
  • Were physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014.
  • Have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014.
  • Aren’t an enforcement priority according to the new enforcement policy.
  • Present no other factors that make a grant of deferred action inappropriate.
  • Are able to pass a background check.


  • Relief from deportation and the ability to stay in the United States with our families U.S. EAD (Employment Authorization Document) or work permit, which allows us to apply for a Social Security card

*Sources: Migration Policy Institute, USCIS, USC Dornsife Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, National Immigration Law Center, L.A. Times,CitizenPath.com, Clearpath.com, etc.

Advance Parole

How To Obtain Travel Documents

From a Dreamer, an Immigration Form Provider, an Immigration Resource Center and the U.S. Government

 Requirements of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

For the official government travel document, filing instructions, fee and other needed information, visit www.uscis.gov/i-131.

To ensure your Form I-131 is accepted for processing:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: You cannot apply for advance parole while your request for deferred action is still pending. If you leave the United States while your request for consideration of deferred action is pending, your deferred action request will be denied.

Once USCIS approves your request for consideration of deferred action, you may file Form I-131 to request advance parole to travel outside of the United States. If you travel outside the United States without first receiving advance parole, USCIS will automatically terminate your deferred action. You must submit Form I-131 with specific documentation depending on the agency that deferred action in your case. If USCIS deferred action in your case, submit a copy of your Form I-797, Notice of Action. If U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deferred action in your case, submit a copy of the ICE order, notice, or letter. USCIS will only grant advance parole if your travel abroad will be for educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes. You must indicate the purpose on the Form I-131 as described below:

    • Educational purposes, such as semester abroad programs or academic research;
    • Employment purposes, such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings with clients; or
    • Humanitarian purposes, such as travel to obtain medical treatment, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit an ailing relative.

Travel for vacation is not a valid purpose.

You may not file Form I-131 online. Please check the Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-131 for information on where to mail your application.

For additional information about travel outside the United States and filing for advance parole, read Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Travel Documents

Regarding all queries, go to www.uscis.gov for more information about USCIS and its programs, including forms, filing instructions and fees.  Applicants with additional questions can call USCIS Customer Service at (800) 375-5283 or use the InfoPass system on the website to make an appointment at their local USCIS office.

Immigration Forms Provider

Traveling with DACA

If you are granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you are generally free to travel within the United States. However, it is always wise to be aware (and even avoid) if traveling in states that do not support DACA. When traveling, you should always carry the following identification:

  • A copy of your I-821D approval notice (DACA)
  • Your Employment Authorization Card (work permit)
  • A state ID/driver’s license (if available) or passport

In general, you should avoid traveling abroad with DACA. If you must travel outside the U.S., you will first need to obtain permission in the form of an Advance Parole document. Here’s how:

Step 1:

Understand the Guidelines for Traveling Abroad with DACA

After you have been granted DACA, you may apply for Advance Parole for one of the following purposes:

  • Educational: such as semester abroad programs or academic research
  • Employment: such as overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings with clients
  • Humanitarian: such as travel to obtain medical treatment, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit an ailing relative

It is also important to understand that Advance Parole will only be provided for the dates requested. So plan for travel delays. Your Advance Parole document must still be valid when you re-enter.

Step 2:

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney

You should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney before traveling abroad with DACA. Depending on your situation, there could be serious risks associated with traveling abroad. You can get help finding an attorney here.

Step 3:

Prepare and File Form I-131, Application for Travel Document

After a short consultation with your attorney, you may even be able to request Advance Parole on your own. Prepare and file an Application for Advance Parole (Form I-131). Be sure to include a letter that reinforces your request. For example, if you are traveling for work purposes, have your employer write a letter stating why it is necessary for you to make the trip.

Source: https://citizenpath.com/traveling-daca/

Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Travel for DACA Applicants (Advance Parole)


  1. DACA applicants may not travel outside the United States until after their DACA request has been approved.
  2. DACA applicants or recipients who travel outside the U.S. without being granted approval for travel will lose their DACA status.
  3. You will be inspected at the border when you return, and there is always a possibility that you could be denied entry, even if the government granted you permission to travel.

How can I travel after I receive DACA?

  • DACA recipients can apply for permission to travel called Advance Parole
  • Advance Parole is an application to USCIS to allow an immigrant to travel outside the United States and return lawfully.


  • Ability to travel abroad and return
  • Opportunities to study or work abroad and visit elderly or sick relatives


  • Risky! Some DACA recipients could get stuck outside the U.S.
  • Approved reasons for travel are limited
  • Time for travel is limited
  • Costs $575 to apply

Who can apply?

USCIS will only approve travel (advance parole) for DACA recipients who demonstrate that their need for travel is for humanitarian, education, or employment purposes.*


For example: travel to obtain medical treatment, attend funeral services for a family member, or visit a sick or elderly relative.


For example: semester abroad programs or academic research


For example: overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or meetings for work

If you have received DACA and wish to travel for one of these purposes, contact an immigration lawyer for more advice!

*Immigrants with other status may be eligible for advance parole outside these restricted purposes. They would use the same forms and follow generally the same process, but would not have to prove that their travel is for humanitarian, educational, or employment purposes.

 ©2015 Immigrant Legal Resource Center  

How to Travel Safely with Advance Parole:

  1. Consult with an immigration attorney before leaving the country!
  2. DO NOT miss the deadline for returning listed in your Advance Parole approval notice.
  3. Leave extra time for your return to accommodate any unexpected travel delays.
  4. Bring your Advance Parole approval notice and DACA approval notice with you.
  5. Leave copies of your approval notices with a close relative or representative in the U.S.
  6. Keep a list of emergency contacts with you.

 ©2015 Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Source: www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/documents/advance_parole_guide.pdf

 DACA Applications And Renewals

New DACA applications and renewals are still being processed under the current administration.  All submissions should be done very carefully and thoroughly. Official government website links appear below:

Confirmation of DACA Applications Still Being Available


How To Be Considered for DACA


How To Request Deferred Action under DACA


How To Renew DACA Status


How To Apply for Employment Authorization


Frequently Asked Questions about DACA


Filing Tips for DACA


DACA Guidelines from USCIS

USCIS strongly encourages you to submit your Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal request between 150 days and 120 days before the expiration date located on your current Form I-797 DACA approval notice and Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Filing during this window will minimize the possibility that your current period of DACA will expire before you receive a decision on your renewal request.

USCIS’ current goal is to process DACA renewal requests within 120 days. You may submit an inquiry about the status of your renewal request after it has been pending more than 105 days. To submit an inquiry, please call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283.

Renewing DACA on Schedule is Critical.

Using this calculator will help us file for DACA renewal applications in a timely fashion. To calculate when would be the best time to file your DACA renewal application, use this tool:

What Do We Need to Know if the DACA Program Ends?

I. Work Permits

Employment Authorization Documents (EADs), also known as work permits, are generally valid until they expire or the government demands they be returned. Unless the government demands that you return your work permit, the following points should apply.

  • If the DACA program ends but you are allowed to keep your work permit, you have the right to work legally until your work permit’s expiration date.
  • Even if the DACA program ends, you have no obligation to inform your employer that DACA has ended. Your employer does not have the right to ask you whether you are a DACA recipient or how you got your work permit.
  • Your employer does not have the right to fire you, put you on leave, or change your work status until after your work permit has expired. If your expiration date is nearing, your employer may ask you for an updated work permit but cannot take any action against you until after it is expired.
  • For more information about your rights as an employee see this advisory by the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/daca-and-workplace-rights/.

II. Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

Your SSN is a valid SSN number for life, even once your work permit and DACA approval expire.

  • If you have not done so already, apply for a SSN while your DACA and work permit are still valid.
  • You can and should continue to use the SSN you got under DACA as your SSN even after your work permit expires. You can use your SSN for education, banking, housing and other purposes.
  • Your SSN contains a condition on it that requires a valid work permit to use it for employment purposes.

III. Driver’s Licenses and Other Identification Cards

Eligibility for these depends on the state in which you live. If you have not already done so, apply for a driver’s license or state identification card if your DACA is still valid. This makes you eligible for a driver’s license or state-issued identification card.

IV. Travel on Advance Parole

DACA recipients should be cautious about travel abroad under advance parole.

  • If you are outside the country with advance parole, make sure to return right away while your advance parole and EAD are valid. If the DACA program ends, it is not clear that people with advance parole based on DACA will be able to return. The safest route is to return as soon as possible, before an announcement ending DACA.
  • If you have been granted advance parole under DACA but have not yet left the United States, or are interested in applying for advance parole, speak with an attorney to determine potential risks before doing anything.

V. Other Immigration Options

Many DACA recipients may be eligible for another immigration option to get a work permit or even a green card.

  • Talk to an immigration services provider to understand your legal options toward eligibility for another immigration benefit.
  • Avoid fraudulent service providers: confirm their credentials, ask for a written contract and a receipt for any payments, and if you have doubts, get a second opinion.

VI.Criminal Issues

Any criminal arrest, charge, or conviction can put you at risk with immigration authorities.

  • Avoid contact with law enforcement that may result in a criminal arrest. If you end up being arrested, make sure to consult an expert immigration attorney.
  • If you have a criminal conviction, find out if it can be changed to lessen the impact on a future immigration case.

VII. Know Your Rights

Everyone – both documented and undocumented persons — have rights in this country. At all times, carry a red card to exercise your right to remain silent in case you are stopped or questioned by ICE (https://www.ilrc.org/red-cards).


 Source: www.ilrc.org/what-do-i-need-know-if-daca-program-ends-august-28-2017




Introducing Apple Watch Series 4. Fundamentally redesigned and re-engineered to help you stay even more active, healthy, and connected.

Apple Watch

At UnitedWeStay, our mission has expanded over the years to become the ONLY dedicated immigrant advocacy, news and storytelling organization that keeps the public informed about immigration issues on a daily basis. UWS believes that immigrants are the embodiment of the American Dream and we are dedicated to making this country live up to its own ideals.



We at UnitedWeStay hope you will join us in debunking the hateful, untrue myths about immigrants. It is only through our collective efforts that we change the narrative of the immigration story, that we humanize and respect those who give up everything and risk their lives for the hope of a shot at the American Dream.  If you are a graphic artist or illustrator and would like UWS to feature your work on immigration, please reach out to us under Take Action/Contact Us.

we are all american dreamers

Myth: They’re Changing Our America.

Fact: We Are All American Dreamers.

Immigrants in this country have forged the American Dream and they continue to define it.

  • Foreign-born immigrants make up no greater percentage of the U.S. population today than they did 160 years ago.
  • America was settled by immigrants who were often prisoners, paupers, undesirables, political instigators and a general nuisance to their home nations, though some bravely came seeking freedom from oppression.
  • Many immigrants were just dumped here as punishment. Turns out all the adversity seems to have made them tough enough to beat back the British, come together for a common cause despite different backgrounds, religions, cultures and languages to create a nation.
  • And the American Dream was born: Come from nothing, work hard, believe in freedom as an ideal, not a birthright, and become your dream. And with each new wave of immigrant arrivals, the nation evolved into what it is today – diverse, innovative, resilient and prosperous.

Myth: They’re Taking Our Jobs.

Fact:  We Carry America’s Economy.

The U.S. doesn’t contain a fixed number of jobs. Immigrants typically do not compete for jobs with native-born workers, and immigrants create jobs as entrepreneurs, consumers and taxpayers.


  • Without immigrants and their children, the U.S. will suffer at least an 8% drop in the labor force in the next 20 years.
  • One-quarter of new businesses are started by immigrants.
  • Immigrants give a slight boost to the average wages of Americans by increasing their productivity and stimulating investment.
  • When the complaint is that undocumented immigrants accept lower wages, then the remedy is to make these workers legal and get them out of the shadows where they’re so readily exploited.
  • Americans need more immigrants because our population is aging and facing an economic crisis: Roughly 76-million Baby Boomers (nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population) are reaching retirement age, jeopardizing Social Security and Medicare.
  •  As a smaller number of workers and tax payers support a growing number of retirees, immigrants will play a critical role in replenishing the labor force and the tax base.

MYTH: They’re All Criminals – Starting with the Crime of Entering the Country Illegally.

FACT:  We’re Families Fleeing Despots and Criminals for a Nation of Laws.

Immigration does not cause crime rates to rise, and immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than native-born Americans.


  • Immigrants, both legal and undocumented, commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.
  • The majority of immigrants are here legally.
  • Most who are without proper documentation have over stayed their visas.
  • Illegal entry into the country is a misdemeanor.
  • Unlawful presence is not a crime; it’s a violation of federal immigration law and is punishable by civil penalties.
  • Trying to enter the country at legal entry points and asking for asylum is definitely not a crime and is protected by national and international law.
  • Since 1990, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population grew from 7.9% to 13.1% and the number of unauthorized immigrants tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During the same period, FBI data indicate that the violent crime rate declined 48% and property crime rate fell 41%.
  • A report from the conservative American Majority Foundation found that crime rates are lowest in states with the highest immigration growth rates.

Myth: They’re Draining Our Social Services Programs and Don’t Pay Taxes.

Fact: We Give Back Far More Than We Take.

Historically, new immigrants pay more in taxes than they have taken in terms of public assistance. They often revitalize communities by bringing more jobs and higher salaries through their skills and entrepreneurship.



  • According to the SSA, undocumented immigrants paid $13 billion in payroll taxes into the Social Security Trust Funds in 2010 alone.
  • The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates that households headed by undocumented immigrants paid $11.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2016. They also pay sales taxes and property taxes — even if they rent housing.
  • More than half of undocumented immigrants have federal and state income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks.
  • The tax payments of undocumented immigrants would be significantly greater if they had legal status.
  • According to ITEP, if undocumented immigrants were allowed to work legally in the United States, they would pay $13.8 billion in state and local taxes — an increase of $2.1 billion over what they pay now.
  • Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefit programs, such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Medicare or food stamps. Even legal immigrants face stringent eligibility restrictions and most have to have been in the States for five years or longer.
  • Given these restrictions, it is not surprising that U.S. citizens are more likely to receive public benefits than are non citizens.

Myth: They Don’t Want To Fit In.

Fact:   We Face Incredible Hardships Just To Become Americans.

The nation has always been plagued by anti-immigrant sentiment, but the idea of who is good and who is bad has been fomenting for the last 100 years.



  • The right type of immigrant doesn’t seem to be based on status but more on a fear of otherness. Getting past that otherness requires sharing workplaces, schools, churches and all aspects of everyday life.
  • It will be increasingly harder to defend stereotypes. Already one in seven U.S.residents is an immigrant.
  • Despite the hateful rhetoric emanating from the political right, a record high of 75% of Americans say immigration is a good thing for the country.
  • Why would immigrants suffer what they do to get here if they didn’t truly believe in the American ideal?
  • The greatest threat to assimilation for the roughly 11-million undocumented is their illegal status.
  • Two-thirds of immigrants have been in the country for more than a decade, so inevitably there have been degrees of assimilation: 64% are employed, half already speak English and almost one-third own homes, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
  • Undocumented status is the biggest barrier to further integrating into American society.  Integration and upward mobility are most apparent among the children of immigrants.
  • Total assimilation should not be the nation’s goal. What makes America unique is the vast richness of our multi-layered traditions, cultures, religions, languages, art and cuisine.

Myth: They Won’t Get In Line.

Fact: We See No Line, Just a Maze of Intimidating Obstacles.

Currently there are more barriers than ever before. The backlog of immigration cases exceeds 700,000 and continues to rise.


  • What immigrants now face is a dysfunctional bureaucratic maze that is incredibly difficult to navigate without attorneys and sufficient resources to pay for background checks and processing fees totaling some $2000 and a minimum five years in the U.S. to first get a green card and finally become a resident. The paperwork process can take decades and there is no guarantee of success.
  • For those fleeing violence and crime, options are limited and time is critical. They have every right to ask for asylum at designated ports of entry. Now many asylum-seekers are being turned away or wait days in line, camping in the open and facing new dangers. Those who are desperate may resort to crossing illegally.
  • The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notes that “Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the 18th and early 19th centuries, and rarely questioned that policy until the late 1800s.”
  • It wasn’t until 1875 that regulation of immigration was even viewed as a federal issue. If someone proudly claims their family came here “legally” and settled the colonies, it just means they showed up, stayed and were naturalized.
  • Naturalization was, however, kept from those who were easily identifiable as nonwhite.
  • It wasn’t until 1870 that people of African descent could become naturalized at all.
  • In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act sought to limit the number of Chinese immigrants.
  • Indigenous individuals living on reservations, who were here first, didn’t become full citizens of the United States until 1924.
  • Until the 1940s, the U.S. didn’t have a policy about would-be refugees and there was no distinction between immigrants and asylum-seekers. Only after World War II left seven million displaced did Congress pass the 1948 Displaced Persons Act, opening the door for 350,000 refugees, and in 1967, the U.S. signed the U.N. refugee protocols, protecting refugees. In the Refugee Act of 1980, a comprehensive system for granting asylum was established.
  • In 2018, roughly 89% of asylum-seekers passed the credible-fear screening but only 17% were granted asylum in the courts.

  • WAPO: “Fixing Immigration Starts with this Easy Step,” Richard V. Reeves/Amy Hu, 8/20/18
  • WAPO: “The Myth of Immigrant Non-assimilation,” by Tomás R. Jiménez, 6/28/18
  • Salon.com: “Seven Truths about Immigration,” Robert Reich, 7/23/18
  • Newsweek: “Illegal Immigration: Myths, Half-Truths and a Hole in Trump’s Wall,” Kurt Eichenwald, 10/14/15
  • U.S Chamber of Commerce: “Immigration Myths and Facts,” 04/14/16
  • Congressional Budget Office, May 2013
  • Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post WonkBlog, 6/19/18
  • Medium.com: “Debunking the Myths Americans Have about Immigrants and Themselves,”  Hanna Brooks Olsen, 5/29/1
  • Pew Research Center, Hispanic Trends, 3/8/18 and  9/18/17
  • WAPO: “Fixing Immigration Starts with this Easy Step,” Richard V. Reeves/Amy Hu, 8/20/2018
  • WAPO: “The Myth of Immigrant Non-assimilation,” by Tomás R. Jiménez, 6/28/2018
  • Salon.com: “Seven Truths about Immigration,” Robert Reich, 7/23/2018
  • Medium.com: “Debunking the Myths Americans Have about Immigrants and Themselves,”
  • Hanna Brooks Olsen, 5/29/2018
  • Newsweek: “Illegal Immigration: Myths, Half-Truths and a Hole in Trump’s Wall,” Kurt  Eichenwald, 10/14/15
  • U.S Chamber of Commerce: “Immigration Myths and Facts,” 04/14/16
  • Statistica.com: Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, 2/2016
  • Time: “Who Gets To Be American?”, 11/26-12/3 2018

Temporary Protected Status: An Overview

American Immigration Council – March 2021

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported there. TPS has been a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of individuals already in the United States when problems in a home country make their departure or deportation untenable. This fact sheet provides an overview of how TPS designations are determined, what benefits TPS confers, and how TPS beneficiaries apply for and regularly renew their status.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Congress created Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in the Immigration Act of 1990. It is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of specifically designated countries that are confronting an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. It provides a work permit and stay of deportation to foreign nationals from those countries who are in the United States at the time the U.S. government makes the designation. There were approximately 411,000 TPS recipients residing in the United States as of October 2020.

For what reasons can a country be designated for TPS?

A country may be designated for TPS for one or more of the following reasons:

  • An ongoing armed conflict, such as a civil war, that poses a serious threat to the personal safety of returning nationals;
  • An environmental disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane, or epidemic, that results in a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions, and because of which the foreign state is temporarily unable to adequately handle the return of its nationals; or
  • Extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent its nationals from returning to the state in safety (unless the U.S. government finds that permitting these nationals to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the U.S. national interest).

Who has the authority to designate a country for TPS?

The Secretary of Homeland Security has discretion to decide when a country merits a TPS designation. The Secretary must consult with other government agencies prior to deciding to designate a country—or part of a country—for TPS.

Although these other agencies are not specified in the statute, these consultations usually involve the Department of State, the National Security Council, and occasionally the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Secretary’s decision as to whether or not to designate a country for TPS is not subject to judicial review, according to immigration law.

How long are TPS designations?

A TPS designation can be made for 6, 12, or 18 months at a time. At least 60 days prior to the expiration of TPS, the Secretary must decide whether to extend or terminate a designation based on the conditions in the foreign country. Decisions to begin, extend, or terminate a TPS designation must be published in the Federal Register. If an extension or termination decision is not published at least 60 days in advance of expiration, the designation is automatically extended for six months. The law does not define the term “temporary” or otherwise limit the amount of time for which a country can have a TPS designation.

Who is eligible for TPS?

In order to qualify for TPS, an individual must:

  • Be a national of the foreign country with a TPS designation (or if stateless, have last habitually resided in a country with a TPS designation);
  • Be continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of designation;
  • Have continuously resided in the United States since a date specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security; and
  • Not be inadmissible to the United States or be barred from asylum for certain criminal or national security-related reasons, such as individuals who have been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors.

Nationals of a designated country do not automatically receive TPS, but instead must register during a specific registration period and pay significant fees. In addition, an individual’s immigration status at the time of application for TPS has no effect on one’s eligibility, nor does the previous issuance of an order of removal.

What does TPS authorize a noncitizen to do?

An individual who is eligible for TPS must register by submitting an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If a person demonstrates eligibility and USCIS grants TPS, that person receives a temporary stay of deportation and temporary authorization to work in the United States. TPS beneficiaries are also eligible for advance parole, which provides permission to travel abroad and return to the United States, but they must apply for it separately. Beneficiaries are not eligible for any public assistance by virtue of their TPS status.

Which countries have TPS?

As of March 2021, the following 12 countries were designated for TPS and the designation had not expired:

  • Burma (Valid through September 12, 2022)
  • *El Salvador (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • *Haiti (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • *Honduras (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • *Nepal (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • *Nicaragua (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Somalia (Extended until September 17, 2021)
  • South Sudan (Extended until May 2, 2022)
  • *Sudan (Auto-extended until October 4, 2021)
  • Syria (Extended until September 30, 2022)
  • Venezuela (Valid through September 9, 2022)
  • Yemen (Extended until September 3, 2021)

*As of December 2020, these TPS designations had been terminated by DHS but were auto-extended pursuant to rulings in at least two lawsuits, including: Bhattarai v. Nielsen (Honduras and Nepal) and Ramos v. Nielsen (El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan).

Which countries have had TPS in the past?

Since TPS was created, the following countries or parts of countries have had TPS designations that are now terminated:

  • Angola (Expired March 29, 2003)
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina (Expired February 10, 2001)
  • Burundi (Expired May 2, 2009)
  • Guinea (Expired May 21, 2017)
  • Guinea-Bissau (Expired September 10, 2000)
  • Province of Kosovo (Expired December 8, 2000)
  • Kuwait (Expired March 27, 1992)
  • Lebanon (Expired April 9, 1993)
  • Liberia (Expired May 21, 2017)
  • Montserrat (Expired August 27, 2004)
  • Rwanda (Expired December 6, 1997)
  • Sierra Leone (Expired May 21, 2017)

Does TPS create a path to permanent residence or citizenship?

TPS does not provide beneficiaries with a separate path to lawful permanent residence (a green card) or citizenship. However, a TPS recipient who otherwise is eligible for permanent residence may apply for that status.

Generally, a person who entered the United States without inspection is not eligible to apply for permanent residence. As of February 2021, six federal appellate circuits had ruled on this issue, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the issue in the spring term of 2021:

  • Three federal appellate circuits (the Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits) ruled that a person with valid TPS status could adjust status to lawful permanent residence if otherwise eligible through a family-based or employment-based petition, even if he or she entered the United States without inspection.
  • Three federal appellate courts (the Third, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuits) ruled that a TPS recipient who entered without inspection is not eligible to adjust to permanent residence.

DHS’ position, applicable in all other circuits, is that a TPS holder is not eligible to adjust status within the United States. In order to gain permanent resident status, a TPS recipient must instead depart the country to have a visa processed at a consular post. For many TPS holders who originally entered the United States without inspection, a departure to have a visa interview would trigger bars to re-entry for up to 10 years.

Alternatively, some TPS recipients may be eligible to adjust status if they were granted advance permission from USCIS (referred to as advance parole), traveled abroad, and were paroled back into the United States.

What happens to a TPS beneficiary when a TPS designation ends?

TPS beneficiaries return to the immigration status that the person held prior to receiving TPS, unless that status has expired or the person has successfully acquired a new immigration status. TPS beneficiaries who entered the United States without inspection and who are not eligible for other immigration benefits, for example, would return to being undocumented at the end of a TPS designation and become subject to removal.

How are “Deferred Enforced Departure” and “Extended Voluntary Departure” related to TPS?

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is very similar to TPS but derives from the President’s foreign policy authority rather than from a specific law. As of February 2021, the only countries designated for DED were Liberia, effective until June 30, 2022, and Venezuela, effective until July 20, 2022.

  • There are no explicit criteria for making DED decisions or for determining who would be eligible for DED once a designation is determined.
  • Just like TPS holders, DED beneficiaries receive a work permit and stay of deportation; however, they are not permitted to travel abroad.

While employment authorization for Liberians under DED will expire on June 30, 2022, Liberians covered by DED may be eligible for permanent resident status under Section 7611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF). Under the LRIF as enacted on December 20, 2019, certain Liberians were given a one-year window to pursue permanent residency in the U.S. This window was subsequently extended for an additional year, through December 20, 2021.

Extended Voluntary Departure (EVD) was the predecessor to TPS prior to the Immigration Act of 1990. It was a discretionary authority used by the Attorney General (at a time when the Immigration and Naturalization Service was housed in DOJ) to give nationals of certain countries experiencing turbulent country conditions temporary permission to remain in the United States. Congress eliminated EVD with the creation of TPS.