Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and over 20 of their Democratic colleagues reintroduced the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency Act, legislation to allow Temporary Protected Status recipients to apply for legal permanent residency and receive work authorization.
TPS is a temporary, legal immigration status granted to foreign citizens who are endangered by conditions in their home country resulting from extraordinary events, such as ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster or epidemic. TPS status is granted for set periods ranging from six to 18 months, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to extend a country’s status on a recurring basis. Each time a country is recertified, recipients must reapply and pass a thorough background check.
The SECURE Act would allow all TPS recipients who were qualified under the most recent TPS designation and who have been continuously present in the United States for at least three years to apply for legal permanent residency. Under the bill, individuals with a pending TPS application will also be able to receive work authorization and be eligible for travel authorization. The legislation would also allow a spouse, domestic partner, child or unmarried child of a qualifying non-citizen to be eligible to obtain permanent resident status.