In today’s political climate, immigration topics have been prevalent in the media in Georgia. One thing that has repeatedly been mentioned and changed is the temporary protected status (TPS) of some people living in the United States. For many, this is an entirely new term and not something they are familiar with. According to the American Immigration Council, TPS is an immigration status that is given to people of certain countries who cannot remain at home because it is unsafe or difficult to return.

TPS was created in the Immigration Act of 1990. It was designed for people coming from countries where there is an environmental disaster, ongoing armed conflict or some temporary or extraordinary conditions. Those protected under TPS are given a stay of deportation and a work permit while they are living in the United States.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, TPS status has recently changed for countries such as Syria, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, South Sudan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. TPS status is given and changed by the Secretary of Homeland Security after they consult with other government agencies. These decisions are usually made jointly with the National Security Council, the Department of State and occasionally the Department of Justice.

TPS is extended to citizens from countries who are in the middle of a civil war or any other conflict that poses a serious threat to those who return to the country. An environmental disaster, such as a hurricane, epidemic or earthquake can also lead to TPS if it substantially and temporarily disrupts living conditions. Extraordinary conditions refer to those who are living in the country and have been forbidden from returning to their home country safely by their own government.