Non-TPS Benefits Available While We Wait

Everyone is waiting for word from the Obama administration about the Guatemalan TPS application, and it’s looking more and more likely that we still have a bit of a wait ahead of us. In the meantime, people are gathering their documents, lobbying their governments, and wondering if there’s anything else they can do. In addition to the few immigration benefits announced by USCIS in early June, it is worth remembering that the full range of ordinary immigration benefits are still available Guatemalan citizens. These include family and employment petitions, requests for asylum, and adjustment of status.

While people usually think of these benefits as being available to those immigrants who are here “legally” (that is, in status), even immigrants who are here out of status can be well served by at least some of these benefits. Out of status immigrants who are immediate relatives of US citizens or legal permanent residents can still apply for family visas, although the process is more complicated and will write likely require a hearing in front of an immigration judge. Asylum requests are perhaps the most noteworthy of these benefits, as they’re available to both in status and out of status immigrants and even people who were caught in removal (deportation) proceedings.

There a few recent cases involving Central American asylum petitions, including one that has received quite a bit of media attention. The case of Lesly Yajayra Perdomo has drawn a great deal of national attention for its suggestion that Guatemalan women may be able to apply for asylum by virtue of their gender and nationality alone. While it is incredibly unlikely that the case will result in such a broad change to asylum law, it does highlight the availability of asylum as a form of immigration relief for a significant number of immigrants from Guatemala and the rest of the world.

In short, there is no sense in waiting for TPS to be granted if other, perhaps more certain, immigration benefits are available. If there is a chance that you qualify for any of these immigration benefits, it is likely well worth your time to bring a case to a competent immigration attorney who can listen to your story explaining what rights and opportunities you have.  If you don’t have an immigration attorney yet and would like to have your questions answered, we would be happy to help you. Just email us at or call us at (209) 408-0104 (for help in English) or (209) 542-4529 (para asistencia en Español).

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6 Responses to “Non-TPS Benefits Available While We Wait”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    Thanks for the update as always. Terrible to have to wait so long and upsetting that politics always manage to trump real need. As an aside, I called Homeland Security asking for an update a couple of weeks ago about TPS for Guatemalans and the operator actually called me “unamerican” for simply asking when we might expect to hear something since it had been several months. Unbelievable.

  2. Patrick Kolasinski Says:

    Wow. It is incredibly disappointing to hear that a government representative would call someone “un-American” for wanting a response from their government. That sounds like a re-training opportunity to me.

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