Should Temporary Protected Status Go on Forever?

Press Releases

December 14, 2020

IRLI shows TPS program recipients are not immigrants

WASHINGTON—On Friday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of the-court brief in the District of Columbia federal district court urging it to reject a case in which aliens in the United States under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program are seeking to use their TPS status to obtain permanent immigration benefits.

The aliens, who received permission to travel abroad while in TPS status, are challenging administrative guidance clarifying that following that travel, they are still in TPS status, and thus still ineligible for immigration benefits such as lawful permanent residence.

In its brief, IRLI shows that TPS was intended to be a temporary program to protect aliens from natural disasters in their home countries, and was never meant to be transformed into an immigration program. The administrative guidance at issue merely states the obvious: TPS recipients are non-immigrants, remain so even after traveling abroad, and are only supposed to be in the United States temporarily.

“As its name suggests, the Temporary Protected Status program is temporary,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Congress never would have passed TPS if it had thought it would be made permanent through lawsuits such as this. By trying to turn TPS into an immigration funnel, the plaintiffs undermine the very program that protected them from natural disasters in the first place. We hope the court respects congressional intent and the clear text of the statute and dismisses this case.”

The case is Central American Resource Center v. Cuccinelli, No. 1:20-cv-2363 (D.D.C.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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