If you are a South Sudanese anywhere in the world and you want TPS status in the United States you were given four days notice this morning to scramble to our borders to get what has become a life-long legal status in the United States.
If you are in Cairo or Berlin, for example, and do not have a U.S. visa, but have or can get a Canadian one, you could fly to Montreal later today and spend the weekend walking or skiing across the northern border, arriving before midnight Monday to qualify. If you are lucky and have a little money, you might be able to get to the United States from South Sudan in the allotted time.
For several years now, USCIS has announced in the Federal Register that aliens in the United States as of the announcement date can secure Temporary Protected Status, but you had only a matter of hours to qualify.
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.
There is little travel from South Sudan to the United States; so little, in fact, that an earlier grant of TPS for the South Sudanese in 2013 attracted all of 10 successful applicants, as we reported in a CIS Backgrounder on TPS generally. 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.
At the same time, the agency announced another renewal of a previous TPS status for people from Sudan who had registered earlier. The earlier Sudan offer does not include a provision for new applicants.
As CIS has noted several times, the grant of TPS is routinely renewed, year after year, and in effect gives the beneficiary a life-long opportunity to live and work in the United States.