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house Bill H.R. 2821

Should People With ‘Temporary Protected Status’ Have a Path to Legal Permanent Resident Status?

Argument in favor

Temporary Protected Status holders are fleeing violence, poverty, and instability in their home countries. These vulnerable immigrants need to be allowed to stay in the U.S. and to apply for permanent resident status.

Argument opposed

Temporary Protected Status by definition isn’t supposed to be permanent, so Congress shouldn’t give people with TPS access to permanent legal status and should instead encourage them to return to their home countries once things stabilize.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMay 17th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2821?

This bill would allow foreign nationals with either Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to adjust their status and remain in the U.S. permanently if they meet certain criteria which are described in greater detail below.

Nationals of certain countries designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to would be eligible to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR) if they:

  • Apply for the status adjustment no more than three years after this bill’s enactment;
  • Have been continuously present in the U.S. for a period of no less than three years before this bill’s enactment; and\
  • Aren’t inadmissible under the relevant sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

An alien would be eligible for adjustment of status under this bill if they:

  • Are a national of a foreign state (or, in the case of an alien without nationality, are a person who last habitually resided in such a state) with a designation under subsection (b) of section 244 of the INA on January 1, 2017 who had or was otherwise eligible for TPS on such date and have not engaged in conduct that’d render them ineligible for TPS; or
  • Were eligible for DED as of January 1, 2017, and has not engaged in conduct since that date that would render them ineligible for DED.

Applications for adjustment of status would be subject to a reasonable fee commensurate with the cost of processing the application, but the cost wouldn’t exceed $1,140. This fee would be waived for applicants younger than 18 years of age; in foster care or otherwise lacking parental or familial support; who can’t care for themselves because of a serious, chronic disability; or whose income in the 12-month period immediately preceding their application was under 150% of the federal poverty line.

The Secretary of Homeland Security wouldn’t grant an alien LPR status on a conditional basis until necessary biometric and biometric data are completed and background checks are completed.

Aliens who appear to be prima facie eligible for relief under this bill would be given a reasonable opportunity to apply for such relief and may not be removed until a final decision establishing ineligibility for relief is rendered. Any alien present in the U.S. who has been ordered removed, or who has been permitted to depart the U.S. voluntarily, would be allowed to apply for adjustment of status under this bill and wouldn’t be required to file a separate motion to reopen, reconsider, or vacate the order of removal. If their application is approved, the order of removal would be cancelled by the Homeland Security Secretary. If the application is denied, the order or removal or permission to depart would be effective and enforceable to the same extent as if the application hadn’t been made, but only after all available administrative and judicial remedies had been exhausted.

In order to help eligible applicants under this bill, the Secretary of Homeland Security would establish a grant program within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to award grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to provide application support services. Grant funds would be used for the design and implementation of programs that provide: 1) information to the public regarding the eligibility and benefits of permanent resident status under this Act, particularly to individuals potentially eligible for such status and 2) assistance with applying for adjustment of status and citizenship under this bill.

Impact

Unauthorized immigrants who are eligible for TPS; unauthorized immigrants who are eligible for DED; TPS holders; DED holders; USCIS; and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2821

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) introduced this bill to protect TPS and DED holders. When she cosponsored the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which contains the same substance as this bill, earlier this year, Rep. Valazquez said:

“For two years, the Trump Administration has viciously targeted some of our most vulnerable immigrant communities creating a climate of uncertainty and fear. Whether it is Dreamers who arrived here as children or TPS or DED recipients who came here fleeing desperate conditions, we need to make clear to these immigrants – our friends and neighbors – that we stand with them and they are here to stay.”

In March 2019, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) testified to Congress in favor of TPS, DED, and DACA:

“The administration’s inhumane termination of TPS for various countries, DED for Liberians, and DACA for young immigrants threaten the safety, well-being, and livelihoods of more than one million immigrants in the U.S. – as well as their families and communities… TPS is a life-saving immigration status that allows foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. if, while they were in the U.S., something catastrophic happened in their country of origin that prevented their safe return. Most affected TPS holders have been given 12 to 18 months to obtain other forms of immigration relief or leave the United States and return to potentially life-threatening situations. Members of Congress, faith leaders, impacted populations, and community members have all called for permanent protections for TPS holders currently residing in the U.S. They have conveyed to the administration the terrible country conditions that would make returning these individuals and families to those countries a dangerous and consequential mistake. DED protected 4,000 Liberian TPS holders residing in the U.S. from returning to Liberia at a time when the nation faced a public health crisis. DED holders have lived in the U.S. for over a decade and are vital community members. DACA has offered stability to the lives of over 700,000 young people also known as Dreamers by giving them opportunity and peace of mind to pursue their dreams, provide for their loved ones, and be active members of their communities… In addition to the stress, chaos, and turmoil our community members are suffering due to the TPS, DED and DACA terminations, people are already losing their jobs, access to driver’s licenses, and face other consequences because of the terminations. Granting legal permanent residency with a roadmap to citizenship for TPS, DED, and DACA recipients will strengthen communities and support family stability. Most TPS, DED, and DACA recipients have been in the U.S. for decades and are deeply integrated into our communities. They are from mixed-status families of U.S. citizens, TPS holders, and undocumented individuals. They provide emotional and financial support to loved ones, and shoulder responsibilities in schools, churches, and civic organizations. Deporting TPS, DED, and DACA recipients would separate hundreds of thousands of families, which is morally abhorrent. Nearly 270,000 U.S. citizen children have a parent who is a TPS recipient from Honduras, El Salvador, or Haiti, and at least 200,000 U.S. citizen children have a parent who is a DACA recipient.”

Jose Palma, a TPS holder and coordinator of the National TPS Alliance, testified to Congress in favor of TPS protections, saying, “There is nothing temporary about our families’ lives. TPS represents the promise of a diverse and courageous nation and the example of hard work and strong families.”  

NumbersUSA, an organization that advocates for lowered immigration numbers, has historically lobbied against any measure that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

This bill has one cosponsor, Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY).


Of NoteThe Trump administration has ended protections for TPS holders from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Nepal, Honduras, Sudan, and Liberia, putting over 300,000 TPS and DED holders at risk of deportation over the next two years. While multiple lawsuits are currently challenging the administration’s termination for TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) argues that “only legislation – not litigation – can provide a permanent solution for TPS, DED, and DACA recipients and their families under attack by the Trump administration. The courts cannot solve this problem. We need legislation that keeps families and communities together.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Bill Oxford)

AKA

American Promise Act of 2019

Official Title

To authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain nationals of certain countries designated for temporary protected status or deferred enforced departure, and for other purposes.