The Obama administration is extending and re-designating South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, allowing foreign nationals from South Sudan to legally remain and work in the U.S.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Monday that DHS would be re-designating South Sudan — granting more people the ability to apply — and extending coverage for current TPS beneficiaries an additional 18 months.
“Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has redesignated South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and extended the existing TPS designation for that country from May 3, 2016, through November 2, 2017, due to the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in South Sudan that prevent its nationals from safely returning,” USCIS said in its statement.
The designation shields South Sudanese nationals from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits and travel authorizations. The U.S. currently has TPS designations for 13 countries.
Center for Immigration Studies expert David North last week noted that the USCIS actually revealed the designation four days early, surmising that a South Sudanese national could take advantage of the early notification with a quick trip to the U.S. before the official announcement.
“Now — and this may be the first time — USCIS has announced today that it will officially announce on Monday, January 25, that anyone from South Sudan (an admittedly dangerous territory) who is in the United States on that date can qualify for the status,” North wrote.
He added, however, that travel from South Sudan is limited, saying an earlier designation of TPS for South Sudan in 2013 yielded just 10 applicants.
“South Sudan broke off from Sudan a few years ago; it is a largely Christian and animist nation, while Sudan is largely Muslim. This time around, USCIS is guessing that 25 to 150 people will apply,” he added.
In addition to the re-designation and extension of TPS for South Sudan, USCIS also announced it would be extending Sudan’s TPS designation for current beneficiaries who are approved for another 18 months.