Archive for the ‘TPS Info’ Category

Even more Congressional Support for TPS!

Monday, July 19th, 2010

The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry issued a press release stating that members of the Congressional Foreign Relations Comittee’s Subcomittee on the Western Hemisphere sent a letter to President Obama stating that they believe that Guatemala meets the qualifications for TPS.  The letter isn’t binding, of course, but is yet another example of the growing legislative support for Guatemalan TPS, and is in itself a very encouraging sign.

Particularly noteworthy is that this support was bipartisan, drawing support from both the Democratic and Republican leaders of the committee. We just got off the phone with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen‘s office, and they kindly confirmed that she had signed on to the letter.

John Kerry Lends His Support to the Guatemalan TPS Effort

Friday, July 16th, 2010

The latest public figure to lend their support to the Guatemalan TPS effort is none other than former Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator John Kerry.  In a development that has seen more widespread reporting than any TPS news since the eruption of the Pacaya volcano, Senator Kerry submitted a letter to President Obama calling for the administration to grant TPS.

The full text of the letter is available on Senator Kerry’s official site, marking a significant departure from the undisclosed letters submitted by other lawmakers. Senator Kerry’s letter highlights the challenges facing Guatemala as it struggles to rebuild after last months dual natural disasters and points out that “[t]he temporary assistance provided by TPS would go a long way to help Guatemala get back on their feet.”

More Legislative Support for Guatemalan TPS

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Last week, we posted a brief note about reported Congressional support for the Guatemalan TPS application.  That initial report actually related to a letter of support submitted by California Assemblymember Norma Torres, and we hope to have a copy of her letter up on here for you soon.

In the meantime, one of our commenters, Sergio, posted a link to a report of additional legislative support.  We spent some time tracking the news down, and can happily confirm the news: members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus signed onto a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, expressing their support for the Guatemalan TPS application. As with the earlier letter, we are working on getting a copy of the letter posted.

We have also placed requests for copies of the letters submitted by Nevada Assemblymembers Mo Denis and Ruben Kihuen, and will update everyone here as soon as we hear something back.


UPDATE: We got a hold of someone at the Hispanic Congressional Caucus and they confirmed that they did submit a letter in support of TPS, but informed us that they do not release the letters to the public. So, it looks like we’re going to have a hard time getting a copy of that letter to share with you all.

DHS TPS Committee to Visit Guatemala

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Presna Libre reported this morning that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will send a committee to Guatemala to assess the impact of Tropical Storm Agatha on that country.  This is a key part of the Obama administration’s review of the TPS application, and is a hope-inspiring sign for the thousands of Guatemalans who await a decision.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a rare form of immigration benefit granted on humanitarian grounds, and as such is considered very carefully by the granting presidential administration. It is natural that the administration would want to verify the scope of Agatha’s impact on Guatemala as it reviews the application and assesses the need for immigration benefits.  The very fact that such a committee has been formed is a positive sign, as it indicates that DHS is giving the application serious consideration.

The Prensa Libre article also highlights the fact that reports on Agatha’s impact are due soon from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). It is very unlikely that the administration will make any decision about TPS before these reports are published, and the details of those reports are likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Guatemalan TPS application.

Finally, the article highlights the impact that your letters to your local congresspeople and senators can have. Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez has now come out in support of the TPS application.  With the impending immigration fight looming in Congress, gaining the support of representatives and senators is important, and can best be achieved through small, personal efforts – by directly contacting the politicians who represent you.  Rather than drawing  a crowd through a protest or rally, get your friends and family to write or call their local congressperson or senator and ask them to support TPS on humanitarian grounds.

Be Careful of TPS Scams

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

We have received some reports of people falsely claiming that TPS has been approved and offering to submit TPS applications on behalf of immigrants (for a fee, of course). At this moment, TPS has not been granted for Guatemala, and any such claims are (at the least) incorrect.

Indeed, some of the reports that we’ve seen have made it clear that the offers of assistance are nothing more than a well-orchastrated fraud.  While it is despicable that anyone would use such a sensitive topic to scam money from a vulnerable audience, there is (unfortunately) no shortage of despicable fraudsters out there.

So, we urge our readers to protect themselves by keeping the following in mind:

  1. Don’t believe everything you read or hear.  If TPS is approved, it will be announced very clearly in a variety of trusted places, including this site and our sister blog.
  2. Verify with a trusted source.  Regardless of what anyone says, TPS will not be official until it is announced by the Obama administration.  Announcements of TPS status (and any other official immigration news) are made on the USCIS press release page.
  3. You can’t apply for TPS until it is officially announced. Anyone who claims that they can help you prepare your TPS application before TPS approval is announced by USCIS is either mistaken or lying.

We understand that there is a great deal of tension and anticipation surrounding the TPS request, and that this makes for fertile ground for scammers. Please take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones, and don’t let a slick-tongued scam artist take advantage of you.  If you or someone you know believes that they are the victim of fraud, contact an attorney or your local police department.

Guatemalan Organizations met with U.S Ambassador Stephen McFarland

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Both Prensa Libre and Siglo XXI reported on a meeting this week between Marcos Yax, president of the Coalición de Inmigrantes de Guatemala (roughly translated, the Coalition of Guatemalan Immigrants). The goal of the meeting was to share the Coalition’s support for Guatemala’s TPS application, and Mr. Yax submitted letters of support from twenty-four other organizations.

In addition to his meeting with Ambassador McFarland, Mr. Yax was scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C. in an attempt to meet with and lobby Secretary of State Hilary Clinton as well as Senators and Congressmen.  We have been unable to find any reports as to whether these meetings happened, and welcome any word from those of you who have some information on the matter.

Guatemala TPS Summary & Recap

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

    In early june of this year, Guatemala suffered a pair of natural disasters that devastated the country. A volcanic eruption was followed two days later by one of the worst tropical storms in memory and as a result.  

    As the country worked to recover from the impact of these two events, the government of Guatemala turned to other countries for assistance.  In addition to seeking the usual rebuilding and humanitarian aid, the Guatemalan government recognized that the scope of the disaster meant that it would be very difficult for the Guatemalan diaspora to return home.  As a result, a request was submitted to the Obama administration, asking that the United States grant Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) to Guatemalans in the United States.

   TPS is a special immigration status granted to citizens of countries that have been severely impacted by short-term events such as natural disasters or wars. Qualified citizens of countries granted TPS status who have been in the U.S. for a given period of time can get benefits that include relief from deportation and work authorization, regardless of their pre-TPS immigration status.  

   Because TPS is effectively an extraordinary humanitarian relief measure, it is not granted lightly and does not last indefinitely – the statute authorizing TPS limits its initial duration to a period of six to eighteen months, although extensions are possible. However, while TPS may not have a long duration, it is very broad in its scope, as it extends legal work authorization even to those immigrants who found themselves in the US illegally.  

   The Guatemalan TPS application was submitted to the Obama administration on June 4, 2010.  As of the time of this writing, the administration has not issued any formal response, although this is not particularly surprising. The Guatemalan foreign ministry has stated that it expects a response to take 30 to 45 days.  The US Ambassador to Guatemala has promised that the response will be “thoughtful and quick.”  The Guatemalan community in the US has rallied together and prepared a petition that has (at this time) approximately 2000 signatures, and has also worked to notify the President, his administration, and Congress of the need for TPS benefits. 

   USCIS has released some information about immigration benefits available to Guatemalan citizens who are awaiting TPS news, but has not issued any official comment on the TPS request.  The news release on immigration benefits led to some excitement, as some people misinterpreted it to mean that TPS was granted, a misunderstanding that was cleared up through the work of our blog and its readers. 

   The Law Offices of Patrick Kolasinski started tracking this issue on our blog due to a personal connection to Guatemala.  It quickly became apparent that we were the only English-language blog to actively track the issue, and we have continued our efforts to post the latest news on the Guatemalan TPS request. As part of our efforts to make any available information about the TPS request more accessible, we are now hosting this blog, which is dedicated to Guatemalan TPS news and information.

   We invite everyone who is interested in this developing story to follow along here as we seek out any and all available news on this topic.  If you have any news, tips, questions or ideas, please share them in the comments or via email at our dedicated email address: