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Notice

Extension of Designation of Sierra Leone Under the Temporary Protected Status Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The designation of Sierra Leone under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program expired on November 2, 2000. This notice extends the Attorney General's designation of Start Printed Page 67406Sierra Leone under the TPS program for 12 months until November 2, 2001, and sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) with TPS to register for the additional 12-month period. Eligible nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) may re-register for TPS and an extension of employment authorization. Re-registration is limited to persons who registered during the initial registration period, which ended on November 3, 1998, who registered under the redesignation, which ended November 2, 2000, or who registered under the late initial registration provisions. Nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) who are eligible for late initial registration may register for TPS during this extension.

EFFECTIVE DATES:

The extension of the TPS designation for Sierra Leone is effective November 2, 2000, and will remain in effect until November 2, 2001. The 30-day re-registration period begins November 9, 2000, and will remain in effect until December 11, 2000.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rebecca K. Peters, Residence and Status Services Branch, Adjudications, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Room 3214, 425 I Street, NW., Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-4754.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Is the Statutory Authority for the Attorney General To Extend Sierra Leone's TPS Designation Under the TPS Program?

Section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) states that at least 60 days before the end of an extension or a designation, the Attorney General must review conditions in the foreign state for which the designation is in effect. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Attorney General determines that the foreign state continues to meet the conditions for designation, the period of designation is extended pursuant to section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act. 8 U.S.C. 12254a(b)(3)(C). With respect to Sierra Leone, such an extension makes TPS available only to persons who have been continuously physically present since November 9, 1999, and have continuously resided in the United States from November 9, 1999.

Why Did the Attorney General Decide To Extend the TPS Designation for Sierra Leone?

On November 4, 1997, the Attorney General designated Sierra Leone for TPS for a period of 12 months (62 FR 59736). Since that date, the Departments of State and Justice have annually reviewed conditions within Sierra Leone, with the Attorney General extending the designation in 1998 (63 FR 59336), and extending the designation and redesignating Sierra Leone in 1999 (64 FR 61125). The Departments of State and Justice have recently reviewed conditions within Sierra Leone. The review resulted in a consensus that a further 12-month extension is warranted. The reasons for extension, as explained in a State Department memorandum, are as follows: “While the Lome Peace Accord was signed in July 1999 rebels did not comply with disarmament and demobilization commitments. Active conflict resumed in May 2000 between the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and government forces supported by the United Nations Mission to Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) peacekeepers. Harassment, abuse, and atrocities committed against unarmed civilians by the RUF rebels, as well as by undisciplined elements of pro-government forces continue.” Based on this year's review, the Attorney General finds that conditions in Sierra Leone warrant a 12-month extension of the designation of Sierra Leone under section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C). Because the Attorney General did not determine, at least 60 days before the end of the designation period, that the conditions in Sierra Leone no longer warrant TPS, the designation was automatically extended six months by operation of statute on November 2, 2000. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C). On the basis of the most recent findings, however, the Attorney General finds that the TPS designation for Sierra Leone should be extended for an additional 12-month period, rather than the six month period resulting from the automatic extension.

If I Currently Have TPS Through the Sierra Leone TPS Program, Do I Still Need To Register for an Extension and How Do I Do So?

If you have already been granted TPS through the Sierra Leone TPS Program, your TPS expired on November 2, 2000. Persons previously granted TPS under the Sierra Leone program may apply for an extension by filing a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, without the fee, during the re-registration period that begins November 9, 2000 and ends December 11, 2000. Additionally, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. To determine whether or not you must submit the one-hundred dollar ($100) filing fee with the Form I-765, see the chart below.

If . . .Then . . .
You are applying for employment authorization until November 2, 2001You must complete and file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the one-hundred dollar ($100) fee.
You have employment authorization until November 2, 2001, or do not require employment authorizationYou must complete and file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with no fee.
You are applying for employment authorization and are requesting a fee waiverYou must complete and file Form I-765 and a fee waiver request and affidavit (and any other information) in accordance with 8 CFR 244.20.

To re-register for TPS, you must also include two identification photographs (11/2 × 11/2).

Where Must I File for an Extension of TPS?

Nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens who have no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) seeking to register for the extension of TPS must submit an application and accompanying materials to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service) district office that has jurisdiction over the applicant's place of residence.

When Must I File for an Extension of TPS?

The 30-day re-registration period begins November 9, 2000, and will Start Printed Page 67407remain in effect until December 11, 2000.

How Does an Application for TPS Affect My Application for Asylum or Other Immigration Benefits?

An application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit. A national of Sierra Leone (or alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) who is otherwise eligible for TPS and has applied for, or plans to apply for, asylum, but who has not yet been granted asylum or withholding of removal, may also apply for TPS. Denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect an applicant's ability to register for TPS, although the grounds of denial may also be grounds of denial for TPS. For example, a person who has been convicted of a particularly serious crime is not eligible for asylum or TPS. 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B).

Does This Extension Allow Nationals of Sierra Leone (or Aliens Having No Nationality Who Last Habitually Resided in Sierra Leone) Who Entered the United States After November 9, 1999, To File for TPS?

No. This is a notice of an extension of the TPS designation for Sierra Leone, not a notice of redesignation for Sierra Leone for TPS. An extension of TPS does not change the required dates of continuous residence and continuous physical presence in the United States and does not expand TPS availability to include nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) who arrived in the United States after the date of the most recent redesignation, in this case, November 9, 1999.

Is Late Initial Registration Possible?

Yes. In addition to timely re-registration, late initial registration is possible for some persons from Sierra Leone under 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2). To apply for late initial registration an applicant must:

(1) be a national of Sierra Leone (or an alien who has no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone);

(2) have been continuously physically present in the United States since November 9, 1999;

(3) have continuously resided in the United States since November 9, 1999; and,

(4) be admissible as an immigrant, except as otherwise provided under section 244(c)(2)(A) of the Act, and not ineligible under section 244(c)(2)(B) of the Act.

Additionally, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that, during the registration period from November 9, 1999, through November 2, 2000, he or she:

(1) was a nonimmigrant or had been granted voluntary departure status or any relief from removal,

(2) had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, voluntary departure or any relief from removal or change of status pending or subject to further review or appeal,

(3) was a parolee or had a pending request for reparole, or

(4) was the spouse or child of an alien currently eligible to be a TPS registrant. 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2).

An applicant for late initial registration must register no later than sixty (60) days from the expiration or termination of the conditions described above. 8 CFR 244.2(g).

Notice of Extension of Designation of Sierra Leone Under the TPS Program

By the authority vested in me as Attorney General under sections 244(b)(3)(A) and (C), and (b)(1) of the Act, I have consulted with the appropriate Government agencies concerning whether the conditions under which Sierra Leone was designated for TPS continue to exist. As a result, I determine that the conditions for the original designation of TPS for Sierra Leone continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Accordingly, I order as follows:

(1) The designation of Sierra Leone under section 244(b) of the Act is extended for an additional 12-month period from November 2, 2000, until November 2, 2001. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

(2) I estimate that there are approximately 5,000 nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens who have no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) who have been granted TPS and who are eligible for re-registration.

(3) In order to be eligible for TPS during the period from November 2, 2000, to November 2, 2001, a national of Sierra Leone (or an alien who has no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) who has already received a grant of TPS under the Sierra Leone TPS designation or who is eligible to file under the late filing provision of 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2) must register for TPS by filing a new Application for Temporary Protected Status, Form I-821, along with an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, within the 30-day period beginning on November 9, 2000 and ending on December 11, 2000. Late registration will be allowed only for good cause shown pursuant to 8 CFR 244.17(c).

(4) Pursuant to section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Act, the Attorney General will review, at least 60 days before November 2, 2001, the designation of Sierra Leone under the TPS program to determine whether the conditions for designation continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Notice of that determination, including the basis for the determination, will be published in the Federal Register. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A).

(5) Information concerning the TPS program for nationals of Sierra Leone (or aliens who have no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sierra Leone) will be available at local Service offices upon publication of this notice.

Start Signature

Dated: November 2, 2000.

Janet Reno,

Attorney General.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-28747 Filed 11-8-00; 8:45 am]

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