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Notice

Extension of the Designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status and Automatic Extension of Employment Authorization Documentation for Salvadoran TPS Beneficiaries

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AGENCY:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

This Notice announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security has extended the designation of El Salvador for temporary protected status (TPS) for 18 months from its current expiration date of September 9, 2010, through March 9, 2012. This Notice also sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of El Salvador (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) with TPS to re-register and to apply for an extension of their employment authorization documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Re-registration is limited to persons who previously registered for TPS under the designation of El Salvador and whose applications have been granted or remain pending. Certain nationals of El Salvador (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who have not previously Start Printed Page 39557applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions.

New EADs with a March 9, 2012, expiration date will be issued to eligible TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, the Department of Homeland Security recognizes the possibility that all re-registrants may not receive new EADs until after their current EADs expire on September 9, 2010. Accordingly, this Notice automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of El Salvador for 6 months, through March 9, 2011, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended.

DATES:

The extension of the TPS designation of El Salvador is effective September 10, 2010, and will remain in effect through March 9, 2012. The 60-day re-registration period begins July 9, 2010, and will remain in effect until September 7, 2010.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

  • For further information on TPS, including guidance on the application process and additional information on eligibility, please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov. Select “Temporary Protected Status” from the homepage. You can find detailed information about this TPS extension on our Web site at the Salvadoran Questions & Answers Section.
  • You can also contact the TPS Operations Program Manager, Status and Family Branch, Service Center Operations Directorate, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20529-2060, telephone (202) 272-1533. This is not a toll-free call. Note: The phone number provided here is solely for questions regarding this TPS notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).
  • Further information will also be available at local USCIS offices upon publication of this Notice.
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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Abbreviations and Terms Used in This Document

Act—Immigration and Nationality Act

DHS—Department of Homeland Security

DOS—Department of State

EAD—Employment Authorization Document

OSC—U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices

Secretary—Secretary of Homeland Security

TPS—Temporary Protected Status

USAID—U.S. Agency for International Development

USCIS—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

What is Temporary Protected Status?

  • TPS is an immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Act (or to persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country).
  • During the period for which the Secretary has designated a country for TPS, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the United States and may obtain work authorization, so long as they continue to meet the terms and conditions of their TPS status.
  • The granting of TPS does not lead to permanent resident status.
  • When the Secretary terminates a country's TPS designation, beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status has since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may have obtained while registered for TPS.

What authority does the Secretary of Homeland Security have to extend the designation of El Salvador for TPS?

Section 244(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the government, to designate a foreign State (or part thereof) for TPS.[1] The Secretary 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(a)(1)(A) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1)(A).

At least 60 days before expiration of the TPS designation, the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the government, must review the conditions in a foreign State designated for TPS to determine whether the conditions for the TPS designation continue to be met and, if so, must determine the length of an extension of the TPS designation. Section 244(b)(3)(A), (C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A), (C). If the Secretary determines that the foreign State no longer meets the conditions for the TPS designation, the Secretary must terminate the designation. Section 244(b)(3)(B) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B).

When was El Salvador designated for TPS?

On March 9, 2001, the Attorney General designated El Salvador for TPS based on an environmental disaster within that country, specifically a series of earthquakes that occurred in 2001. 66 FR 14214. See section 244(a)(b)(1)(B) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(B). The last extension of TPS for El Salvador was announced on October 1, 2008, based on the Secretary's determination that the conditions warranting the designation continued to be met. 73 FR 57128. This announcement is the seventh extension of TPS for El Salvador.

Why is the Secretary extending the TPS designation for El Salvador through March 9, 2012?

Over the past year, DHS and the Department of State (DOS) have continued to review conditions in El Salvador. Based on this review, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month extension is warranted because there continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in El Salvador resulting from the series of earthquakes that struck the country in 2001, and El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to adequately handle the return of its nationals.

The 2001 earthquakes resulted in the loss of over a thousand lives, displacement of thousands more, the extensive destruction of physical infrastructure and severe damage to the country's economic system. See 66 FR 14214 (March 9, 2001) (describing devastation caused by earthquakes). El Salvador's recovery from the earthquakes is still incomplete.

As of February 2007, 136,988 houses had been reconstructed or repaired, not quite 50% of the total number that were destroyed or damaged. The housing program funded by the European Union was completed in March 2007, with a total of 5,482 houses constructed. As of June 2008, the housing program funded by Inter-American Development Bank to construct 3,500 homes was underway with an expected completion date by the middle of 2009, but information on whether that goal was met is unavailable. DOS also reports that of the 276,000 homes destroyed in 2001, only approximately half have been rebuilt to Start Printed Page 39558date with the assistance of programs sponsored by USAID, other international donors, and the Salvadoran government. While the USAID programs were officially completed in 2006, other donor efforts have lagged. A significant number of families are still living in temporary housing.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, several hospitals and 113 of 361 health facilities were severely damaged; these numbers represented 55% of the country's capacity to deliver health services. In June 2003, the Salvadoran legislature approved borrowing $142.6 million for the reconstruction of hospitals. Reconstruction of only two of the damaged hospitals has been completed. The Salvadoran government has slowly worked to rebuild the other priority hospitals, but reconstruction of five hospitals is only half complete, and the rebuilding of one, the Maternity Hospital in San Salvador, apparently has yet to begin.

More recent natural disasters have delayed the recovery from the 2001 earthquakes. Tropical Storm Stan in October 2005 brought widespread flooding, loss of homes, and destruction of crops and infrastructure across the country. The eruption of the Santa Ana volcano that same month also caused localized destruction of communities and crops in the surrounding areas. A series of earthquakes in late 2006 resulted in the displacement of an additional 2,000 families whose homes were destroyed. In 2009, Hurricane Ida caused extensive damage to crops, homes, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. This recent hurricane also resulted in over 190 deaths and displaced more than 14,000 people in November 2009.

Due to the unfinished recovery from the earthquakes, other recent destructive environmental events and its weak economy, El Salvador cannot adequately handle the return of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans who currently have TPS but no other immigration status in the United States. Their return would further aggravate the country's poor economic situation by increasing unemployment. In addition to the weak economy and the incomplete reconstruction of health facilities, El Salvador is ill-equipped to handle the return of large numbers of its nationals from the United States because of an inadequate road infrastructure that limits access to markets and complicates access to health and education systems. El Salvador also continues to suffer a public security crisis that threatens to undermine sustained development and confidence in democratic governance, as well as increasing levels of violent crime.

Based on this review and after consultation with the appropriate Government agencies, the Secretary finds that:

  • The conditions that prompted the March 9, 2001, designation of El Salvador for TPS continue to be met. See section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A).
  • There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption in living conditions in El Salvador as the result of an environmental disaster. See section 244(b)(1)(B) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(B).
  • El Salvador continues to be unable, temporarily, to adequately handle the return of its nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador). See section 244(b)(1)(B) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(B).
  • The designation of El Salvador for TPS should be extended for an additional 18-month period. See section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).
  • There are approximately 217,000 nationals of El Salvador (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who are eligible for TPS under this extended designation.

Notice of Extension of the TPS Designation of El Salvador

By the authority vested in me as Secretary of Homeland Security under section 244 of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a, I have determined after consultation with the appropriate government agencies that the conditions that prompted designation of El Salvador for temporary protected status (TPS) on March 9, 2001, continue to be met. See section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). On the basis of this determination, I am extending the TPS designation of El Salvador for 18 months from September 10, 2010, through March 9, 2012.

Start Signature

Janet Napolitano,

Secretary.

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Required Application Forms and Application Fees To Register or Re-Register for TPS

To register or re-register for TPS, an applicant must submit:

1. Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status,

  • You only need to pay the Form I-821 application fee if you are filing an application for late initial registration.
  • You do not need to pay the Form I-821 fee for a re-registration; and

2. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

  • If you are filing for re-registration, you must pay the Form I-765 application fee if you want an employment authorization document (EAD).
  • If you are filing for late initial registration and want an EAD, you must pay the Form I-765 fee only if you are age 14 through 65. No EAD fee is required if you are under the age of 14 or over the age of 65 and filing for late initial TPS registration.
  • You do not pay the Form I-765 fee if you are not requesting an EAD.

You must submit both completed application forms together. You may apply for application and/or biometrics fee waivers if you are unable to pay and you can provide proof through satisfactory supporting documentation. For more information on the application forms and application fees for TPS, please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov.

Biometric Services Fee

Biometrics (such as fingerprints) are required for all applicants 14 years of age or older. Those applicants must submit a biometric services fee. For more information on the biometric services fee, please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov.

Mailing Information

Mail your application for TPS to the proper address in Table 1:

Table 1—Mailing Addresses

If . . .Mail to . . .
You are applying for re-registration through US Postal ServiceUSCIS, Attn: TPS El Salvador, P.O. Box 8635, Chicago, IL 60680-8635.
You are applying for the first time as a late initial registrant through US Postal ServiceUSCIS, Attn: TPS El Salvador, P.O. Box 8670, Chicago, IL 60680-8670.
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You are using a Non-US Postal Service delivery service for both re-registration and first time late initial registrationUSCIS, Attn: TPS El Salvador, 131 S. Dearborn—3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60603-5517.
You were granted TPS by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and you wish to request an EAD or are re-registering for the first timeUSCIS, Attn: TPS El Salvador, P.O. Box 7332, Chicago, IL 60680-7332.

E-Filing

If you are re-registering for TPS during the re-registration period and you do not need to submit any supporting documents or evidence, you are eligible to file your applications electronically. For more information on e-filing, please visit the USCIS E-Filing Reference Guide at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

May I request an interim EAD at my local USCIS office?

No. USCIS will not issue interim EADs to TPS applicants and re-registrants at local offices.

Am I eligible to receive an automatic 6-month EAD extension from September 10, 2010, through March 9, 2011?

To receive an automatic 6-month extension of your EAD:

  • You must be a national of El Salvador (or an alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in El Salvador) who has applied for and received an EAD under the designation of El Salvador for TPS, and
  • You have not had TPS withdrawn or denied.

This automatic extension is limited to EADs issued on Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, bearing an expiration date of September 9, 2010. These EADs must also bear the notation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category.”

What documents may a qualified individual show to his or her employer as proof of employment authorization and identity when completing Form I-9?

During the first six months of this extension, qualified individuals who have received a 6-month automatic extension of their EADs by virtue of this Federal Register notice may present their extended TPS-based EADs, as described above, to their employers as proof of identity and employment authorization through March 9, 2011. To minimize confusion over this extension at the time of hire or re-verification, qualified individuals may also present a copy of this Federal Register notice regarding the automatic extension of employment authorization documentation through March 9, 2011.

After March 9, 2011, TPS beneficiaries may present their EADs on Form I-766 with an extension date of March 9, 2012, to their employers as proof of employment authorization and identity. The EAD will bear the notation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category.” After March 9, 2011, employers may not accept EADs that no longer have a valid date.

Employers should not request proof of Salvadoran citizenship. Employers should accept the EADs as valid “List A” documents. Employers should not ask for additional Form I-9 documentation if presented with an EAD that has been automatically extended or a new valid EAD pursuant to this Federal Register notice, and the EAD reasonably appears on its face to be genuine and to relate to the employee. Employees also may present any other legally acceptable document or combination of documents listed on the Form I-9 as proof of identity and employment eligibility.

Note to Employers

Employers are reminded that the laws requiring employment eligibility verification and prohibiting unfair immigration-related employment practices remain in full force. This Notice does not supersede or in any way limit applicable employment verification rules and policy guidance, including those rules setting forth re-verification requirements. For questions, employers may call the USCIS Customer Assistance Office at 1-800-357-2099. Employers may also call the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Employer Hotline at 1-800-255-8155.

Note to Employees

Employees or applicants may call the OSC Employee Hotline at 1-800-255-7688 for information regarding the automatic extension. Additional information is available on the OSC Web site at http://www.justice.gov/​crt/​osc/​.

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Footnotes

1.  As of March 1, 2003, in accordance with section 1517 of title XV of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA), Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, any reference to the Attorney General in a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act describing functions transferred under the HSA from the Department of Justice to the Department of Homeland Security “shall be deemed to refer to the Secretary” of Homeland Security. See 6 U.S.C. 557 (2003) (codifying HSA, tit. XV, sec. 1517).

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[FR Doc. 2010-16431 Filed 7-8-10; 8:45 am]

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