The Inevitable? — More TPS Eligibility for Syrians

By David North on June 17, 2013

I suppose it was inevitable.

DHS announced today that Syrians who arrived in the United States before today and those who will arrive in the United States in the next few hours (before midnight) are to be granted Temporary Protected Status and allowed to work — no matter how they got here or what their visa status.

Syrians who arrived before March 31, 2012, have been eligible for TPS, as we reported in an earlier blog, but now all who have arrived up to June 17, 2013, are eligible.

What I find surprising is the DHS estimate that only 2,600 people had signed up for the earlier TPS period and that only 9,000 are predicted to enroll in the current one between today and December 16 of this year.

The problem with handling such situations in this way it produces a lottery effect — some people from a troubled country who happen to be in the United States at the right time, even if here illegally, are granted a windfall — a "temporary" legal status that keeps getting renewed, forever, while others of equal or greater merit have to use the standard immigration system to become legal residents of this country.

For an alternative way out of these situations — in which there are no windfalls, and no deportations back to a nation during a civil war — see this CIS blog.

Those currently eligible for TPS must pay registration fees — unless they can successfully argue that the fees should be waived. The fees are $50 for those under 14, $135 for those 66 and older, and $515 for everyone else.

If a Syrian happened to be reading the right part of the Internet this morning in, say, Montreal, and saw the announcement, that person could then enter the United States legally or illegally and instantly apply for TPS later in the day. In recent years DHS has been announcing TPS effective the day of publication. Today's announcement appeared on both the USCIS website and in the Federal Register.