When the earthquake hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti earlier this year, thousands of- Haiti nationals were in the US. These persons were then unable to return to Haiti because of the devastation of the quake. Soon after the quake, Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano designated a Temporary Protected Status for Haiti nationals beginning from January 21, 2010. The status however only applies to those Haiti nationals who had been residing in the US since before the quake, and does not apply to those who entered the US after the quake.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has now announced that Haiti nationals have an extension of the Temporary Protected Status for another 180 days. Haiti nationals who are currently in the US, must apply for Temporary Protected Status before January 18, 2011.
The USCIS says that it has received information from the Haiti community and leaders that many Haitians in the country need more time to apply for TPS. This could be because these persons have not been able to locate the funds they need to pay for application fees and related expenses. Besides, many persons have not been able to get their documentation in place. These persons were already in the US during the quake, and were not expecting their stay to be extended because of a tragedy in their homeland. They have therefore not been able to get their papers in order. Some persons may be eligible for fee waivers, and it's important that these people know about these waivers, so they can benefit from these.
New Jersey is home to more than 60,000 Americans of Haitian descent. Many of these people have taken in persons who were suddenly left homeless when the earthquake struck. In fact, New Jersey’s Haitian-American community is one of the country's most robust, with the fourth largest population of Haitians in the country. If these families hosted Haitian relatives or friends who were in the country when the quake hit, it’s important for them to know that they need to begin the process of applying for their TPS as quickly as possible.
The New Jersey immigration lawyers at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman represent clients in matters related to Temporary Protected Status, Student Visas, Asylum, visa extensions, naturalizations and other immigration matters.