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Immigration Updates: September 18, 2023 – September 24, 2023

Immigration Updates: September 18, 2023 – September 24, 2023

PUBLISHED ON: September 22
 TPS Extended and Redesignated for Venezuela

The Biden Administration has officially declared the extension and reclassification of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for individuals from Venezuela. Those who arrived in the United States before July 31, 2023, and fulfill additional eligibility criteria will be granted protection against deportation and authorization to work for the duration of this designation. The extension remains in effect until July 31, 2023.

The TPS designation for Venezuela was initially announced on March 8, 2021, and subsequently reaffirmed on September 8, 2022. This reconfirmation remains valid until March 10, 2024.

USCIS will continue processing pending applications for both the initial TPS designation and the reclassification for Venezuelans. DHS has advised individuals with pending Form I-821 or Form I-765 applications not to resubmit them. Once approved, USCIS will provide TPS and EADs with an expiration date coinciding with the existing designation.

The publication of Federal Register notices marks the official opening of the re-registration window for TPS beneficiaries. This allows them to maintain their safeguard against deportation and employment authorization. AILA will keep its members informed as soon as these notices are published.

Changes to EAD Processing and Validity Times for Certain Noncitizens

On September 20, 2023, the Biden Administration made the following announcements, effective from October 1, 2023, regarding USCIS operations:

1. USCIS will expedite the processing of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for parolees who have scheduled an appointment through CBP One.

2. The objective is to reduce the average processing time for EADs from 90 days to 30 days for EADs based on CBP One parole, as well as for EADs based on parole for individuals from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

3. The maximum validity period for initial and renewed EADs will be extended to five years for certain noncitizens, including those admitted as refugees or granted asylum, individuals with withholding of removal status, and applicants for asylum, adjustment of status, or cancellation of removal. These longer validity dates will apply to EADs issued after the announcement.

4. USCIS will continue sending email and SMS notifications to certain eligible parolees who are eligible to apply for work authorization but have not yet done so.

5. Attorneys are reminded that when preparing parole-based EADs, they can access electronic I-94 information using an individual’s A number. Additionally, the “DT” abbreviation on the I-94 indicates humanitarian parole eligibility, allowing the individual to apply for a (c)(11)-based EAD.

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Extension and Redesignation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status

In a statement from Washington, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has officially declared an extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela, allowing an 18-month extension due to the ongoing exceptional and temporary conditions in Venezuela that render it unsafe for individuals to return. Following an extensive assessment of the country’s conditions and consultations with various government agencies, Secretary Mayorkas concluded that the 18-month TPS extension and redesignation are justified, given the escalating instability and hazardous circumstances in Venezuela, spanning humanitarian, security, political, and environmental issues. This redesignation offers temporary protection against deportation and provides employment authorization for individuals who were present in the United States before July 31, 2023. Secretary Mayorkas emphasized that TPS offers protection to those already residing in the U.S. when conditions in their home country make their return unsafe, though he noted that Venezuelans who arrived after July 31, 2023, do not qualify for this protection and may face removal. To qualify for TPS under this redesignation, applicants must establish Venezuelan nationality, continuous residence in the U.S. since July 31, 2023, and meet additional eligibility criteria. Pending applications filed under the previous TPS designation for Venezuela will be processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and if approved, individuals will be granted TPS and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) valid through the same date. Eligible individuals without TPS status can apply during the initial registration period, details of which will be provided in an upcoming Federal Register notice, and they may also apply for TPS-related EADs and travel authorization. The existing TPS designation for Venezuela has approximately 242,700 beneficiaries, with an additional estimated 472,000 Venezuelan nationals eligible under this redesignation. The forthcoming Federal Register notice will outline eligibility criteria, timelines, and application procedures for both current beneficiaries seeking re-registration and EAD renewal and new applicants wishing to apply under this redesignation.

Important Update on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

On September 13, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas declared the DACA Final Rule unlawful, broadening the injunction and vacating the Final Rule initially ordered on July 16, 2021. However, the court upheld a partial stay for “all DACA recipients who received their initial DACA status prior to July 16, 2021.” Consequently, existing DACA grants and associated Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) will remain valid until their expiration unless individually terminated. USCIS will continue to accept and process DACA renewal requests and employment authorization applications as per DACA regulations. USCIS will also accept initial requests, but processing of initial DACA requests will not proceed, in accordance with the court’s order. Current valid DACA grants and EADs will still be recognized as valid under the Final Rule, eliminating the need for DACA holders to submit renewal requests until it is time for renewal.

Extension and Redesignation of Afghanistan for TPS

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced an 18-month extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan, effective from November 21, 2023, to May 20, 2025. During this period, existing TPS beneficiaries can re-register to maintain their TPS status if they meet the eligibility criteria. Those wishing to extend their status must do so within a 60-day re-registration window. Additionally, the redesignation of Afghanistan for TPS allows Afghan nationals and individuals without nationality who last lived in Afghanistan, continuously residing in the United States since September 20, 2023, and physically present in the U.S. since November 21, 2023, to apply for TPS. Pending applications filed under the previous TPS designation for Afghanistan will be processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and if approved, individuals will receive TPS status through May 20, 2025, along with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) valid until the same date. The Federal Register notice provides details on the re-registration and initial application procedures and applying for an EAD. Afghan nationals paroled into the United States are also eligible to apply for TPS and other relevant immigration benefits.

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