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Notice

Extension of the Designation of Sudan Under Temporary Protected Status Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Homeland Security.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The designation of Sudan under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Program will expire on November 2, 2003. This notice extends the Secretary of Homeland Security's designation of Sudan for 12 months until November 2, 2004, and sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) with TPS to re-register and to apply for an extension of their employment authorization documentation for the additional 12-month period. Re-registration is limited to persons who registered no later than November 3, 1998, under the initial designation and also timely re-registered under each subsequent extension of the designation, or who registered under the re-designation no later than November 2, 2000, and also timely re-registered under the extension of the re-designation. Certain nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) who previously have not applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATES:

The extension of Sudan's TPS designation is effective November 2, 2003, and will remain in effect until November 2, 2004. The 60-day re-registration period begins September 3, 2003, and will remain in effect until November 3, 2003.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jonathan Mills, Residence and Status Services, Office of Programs and Regulations, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 425 “I” Street, NW., Room 3040, Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-4754.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Authority Does the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Have To Extend The Designation of Sudan Under the TPS Program?

On March 1, 2003, the functions of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Service) transferred from the Department of Justice to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-296. The responsibilities for administering the TPS program held by the Service were transferred to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).

Under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), 8 U.S.C. 1254a, the Secretary of DHS, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the Government, is authorized to designate a foreign state or (part thereof) for TPS. The Secretary of DHS may then grant TPS to eligible nationals of that foreign state (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in that state).

Section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires the Secretary of DHS to review, at least 60 days before the end of the TPS designation or any extension thereof, the conditions in a foreign state designated under the TPS program to determine whether the conditions for a TPS designation continue to be met and, if so, the length of an extension of TPS. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Secretary of DHS determines that the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for TPS designation, he shall terminate the designation, as provided in section 244(b)(3)(B) of the Act. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B). Finally, if the Secretary of DHS does not determine that a foreign state (or part thereof) no longer meets the conditions for designation at least 60 days before the designation or extension is due to expire, section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act provides for an automatic extension of TPS for an additional period of 6 months (or, in the discretion of the Secretary of DHS, a Start Printed Page 52411period of 12 or 18 months). 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

Why Did the Secretary of DHS Decide To Extend the TPS Designation for Sudan?

On November 4, 1997, the Attorney General published a notice in the Federal Register designating Sudan under the TPS program based upon ongoing armed conflict occurring within the country. 62 FR 59735. The Attorney General extended this TPS designation annually and re-designated Sudan by publishing a notice on November 9, 1999, determining in each instance that the conditions warranting such designation continued to be met. 64 FR 61123.

Since the date of the last extension, the Departments of Homeland Security and State have continued to review conditions in Sudan. It is determined that a 12-month extension is warranted due to ongoing armed conflict within Sudan that would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of returning nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan). 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A).

The Department of State observes that civil war continues to endanger thousands of Sudanese civilians. DOS Recommendation (June 19, 2003). Despite the signing of an October 2002 agreement, fighting between government and rebel forces has continued in several regions, especially those rich in oil. Id. In July 2002, warring parties signed the Machakos Protocol, a general framework for peace. Id. Peace talks continue in Kenya. Id. It remains to be seen whether a working peace agreement will be achieved; past efforts have failed. Id.

The BCIS Resource Information Center (RIC) notes that, despite a period of relative peace and stability in southern Sudan, there is a general consensus among human rights monitors and other close observers of Sudan that there the human rights situation in Sudan has not improved significantly. RIC Report (July 16, 2003). The lessening of conflict following the October 2002 agreement appears to have resulted in fewer war-related human rights violations. Id. However, human rights abuses, including massacres and the targeting and displacement of civilians, have continued in the South and in other conflicted areas, including the Upper Nile and Darfur regions. Id. Detention and harassment of human rights advocates and political opponents remains in the North despite increased organization by civil society groups. Id.

The government's human rights record remains extremely poor and includes extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, rape, slavery, forced labor, and forced conscription of male children. DOS Recommendation. Rebel groups are also responsible for serious abuses, including killings, beatings, rapes, arbitrary detention, and forced conscription of boys. Id.

Based upon this review, the Secretary of DHS, after consultation with appropriate government agencies, finds that the conditions that prompted designation of Sudan under the TPS program continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3). There is an ongoing armed conflict within Sudan and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A). On the basis of these findings, the Secretary of DHS concludes that the TPS designation for Sudan should be extended for an additional 12-month period. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

If I Currently Have TPS Through the Sudan TPS Program, Do I Still Re-Register for TPS?

Yes. If you already have received TPS benefits through the Sudan TPS program, your benefits will expire on November 2, 2003. Accordingly, individual TPS beneficiaries must comply with the re-registration requirements described below in order to maintain their TPS benefits through November 2, 2004. TPS benefits include temporary protection against removal from the United States, as well as employment authorization, during the TPS designation period and any extension thereof. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1).

If I am Currently Registered for TPS, How Do I Re-Register for an Extension?

All persons previously granted TPS under the Sudan program who wish to maintain such status must apply for an extension by filing (1) a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, without the filing fee; (2) a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and (3) two identification photographs (11/2 inches x 11/2 inches). See the chart below to determine whether you must submit the one hundred and twenty dollar ($120) filing fee with Form I-765. Applicants for an extension of TPS benefits do not need to be re-fingerprinted and thus need not pay the $50 fingerprint fee. Children beneficiaries of TPS who have reached the age of fourteen (14) but were not previously fingerprinted must pay the fifty dollar ($50) fingerprint fee with the application for extension.

An application submitted without the required fee and/or photos will be returned to the applicant. Submit the completed forms and applicable fee, if any, to the BCIS District Office having jurisdiction over your place of residence during the 60-day re-registration period that begins September 3, 2003 and ends November 3, 2003.

IfThen
You are applying for employment authorization until November 2, 2004You must complete and file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the $120 fee.
You already have employment authorization or do not require employment authorizationYou must complete and file Form I-765 with no fee.1
You are applying for employment authorization and are requesting a fee waiverYou must complete and file: 1) Form I-765 and 2) a fee waiver request and affidavit (and any other information) in accordance with 8 CFR 244.20.
1 An applicant who does not seek employment authorization documentation does not need to submit the $120 fee, but must still complete and submit Form I-765 for data gathering purposes.
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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. Denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect an applicant's TPS eligibility, although the grounds for denying one form of relief may also be grounds for denying 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)(A)(ii); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B)(ii).

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

No. This is a notice of an extension of TPS, not a notice of re-designation of Sudan under the TPS program. An extension of TPS does not change the required dates of continuous residence and continuous physical presence in the United States. This extension does not expand TPS availability to those beyond the current TPS eligibility requirements of Sudan. To be eligible for benefits under this extension, nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) must have been continuously physically present and continuously resided in the United States since November 9, 1999.

What Is Late Initial Registration?

Some persons may be eligible for late initial registration under 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A) and 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2). To apply for late initial registration an applicant must:

(1) Be a national of Sudan (or alien who has no nationality and who last habitually resided in Sudan);

(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 both admissible as an immigrant, except as 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 for the initial designation (from November 4, 1997 to November 3, 1998), or during the registration period for the redesignation (from November 9, 1999 to 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.

An applicant for late initial registration must file an application for late registration no later than 60 days after the expiration or termination of the conditions described above. 8 CFR 244.2(g).

What Happens When This Extension of TPS Expires on November 2, 2004?

At least 60 days before this extension of TPS expires on November 2, 2004, the Secretary of DHS will review conditions in Sudan and determine whether the conditions for designation under the TPS program continue to be met at that time, or whether the TPS designation should be terminated. Notice of that determination, including the basis for the determination, will be published in the Federal Register.

If the TPS designation is extended at that time, an alien who has received TPS benefits must re-register under the extension in order to maintain TPS benefits. If, however, the Secretary of DHS terminates the TPS designation, TPS beneficiaries will maintain the immigration status they had before TPS (unless that status had since expired or been terminated) or any other status they may have acquired while registered for TPS. Accordingly, if an alien had no lawful immigration status prior to receiving TPS and did not obtain any status during the TPS period, he or she will revert to that unlawful status upon termination of the TPS designation.

Notice of Extension of Designation of Sudan Under the TPS Program

By the authority vested in me as Secretary of DHS under sections 244(b)(1)(B), (b)(3)(A), and (b)(3)(C) of the Act, I have consulted with the appropriate government agencies and determine that the conditions that prompted designation of Sudan for TPS continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Accordingly, I order as follows:

(1) The designation of Sudan under section 244(b)(1) of the Act is extended for an additional 12-month period from November 2, 2003, to November 2, 2004. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

(2) There are approximately 520 nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) who have been granted TPS and who are eligible for re-registration.

(3) To maintain TPS, a national of Sudan (or an alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) who was granted TPS during the initial designation period or redesignation period must re-register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration period from September 3, 2003 until November 3, 2003.

(4) To re-register, the applicant must file the following: (1) Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status; (2) Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and (3) two identification photographs (11/2 inches by 11/2 inches). Applications submitted without the required fee and/or photos will be returned to the applicant. There is no fee for filing a Form I-821 for re-registration application. If the applicant requests employment authorization, he or she must submit one hundred and twenty dollars ($120) or a properly documented fee waiver request, pursuant to 8 CFR 244.20, with the Form I-765. An applicant who does not request employment authorization must nonetheless file Form I-765 along with Form I-821, but is not required to submit the fee. The fifty-dollar ($50) fingerprint fee is required only for children beneficiaries of TPS who have reached the age of 14 but were not previously fingerprinted. Failure to re-register without good cause will result in the withdrawal of TPS. 8 CFR 244.17(c). Some persons who had not previously applied for TPS may be eligible for late initial registration under 8 CFR 244.2.

(5) At least 60 days before this extension terminates on November 2, 2004, the Secretary will review the designation of Sudan under the TPS program and 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).

(6) Information concerning the extension of designation of Sudan under the TPS program will be available at local BCIS offices upon publication of this notice and on the BCIS Web site at http://www.bcis.gov.

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Dated: August 28, 2003.

Tom Ridge,

Secretary of Homeland Security.

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[FR Doc. 03-22509 Filed 8-29-03; 12:00 pm]

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