Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala’

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: