Deferred Action and Temporary Protected Status ("TPS")
Deferred action is defined as “a discretionary determination to defer a deportation of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion.” Deferred action can be granted by the Department of Homeland Security or by a federal immigration judge. Although it does not confer lawful status and does not provide a path to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals who have been granted deferred action can apply for work authorization and obtain a social security card and driver’s license.
Deferred action can be granted in individual cases, often for humanitarian purposes, or can be applied to individuals falling under specific categories. An example of the latter is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program implemented by the Obama administration in 2012. This program provides deferred action to certain individuals who came to the U.S. before turning 16 years old and who meet several other requirements.
Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”)
This status is granted to eligible foreign-born individuals who are unable to return home safely due to ongoing conditions or circumstances preventing their country from adequately welcoming them back. This status will prevent an individual from being removed from the U.S. and will make them eligible for an employment authorization document and travel authorization.
A country can be designated for TPS due to:
- Ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war),
- An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic, or
- Other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
To be eligible, the applicant must be a national of a designated country, must file for status during a specified registration period, and must have been continuously physically present in the U.S. since a designated date.
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