Once again, President Biden has extended the Temporary Protection program for immigrants from Sudan and South Sudan.
South Sudan TPS
Most Recent Registration Period: September 6, 2023 – November 6, 2023
Current Expiration Date: May 3, 2025
Most Recent Registration Period: August 21, 2023 – October 20, 2023
Current Expiration Date: April 19, 2025
Sudan And South Sudan TPS History
Approximately 340 persons have been eligible to seek TPS benefits under either the Sudan or South Sudan designation.
The 18-month extensions were warranted due to the “ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions” in these countries, both of which had created the need for the original Sudan TPS designation.
History Of Conflict In Sudan
Starting in 1995, international rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch began reporting the Sudanese Civil War was causing a widespread abduction of civilians and slavery of rebels captured by the pro-government militias.
The Sudanese government disputed these charges.
But studies also showed hundreds of thousands of civilians were missing after massive genocide in Southern Sudan.
As a result, the U.S. Attorney General designated Sudan for Temporary Protected Status on November 4, 1997. Since then, due to ongoing armed conflict and harm to the civilian population, TPS protections for Sudan have been extended 12 times.
In 2005, Sudan’s civil war formally ended with the signing of a peace agreement between the north’s government, with its ruling National Congress Party (NCP), and the south’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement Army (SPLM).
However, the peace agreement did not end the violence, as new conflicts and disputes arose between the north and south. Instead, new militia groups, rebel forces, and armed local tribal groups entered the fray, causing an increase in killings of civilians and hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees fleeing to nearby nations.
South Sudan Independence
In April 2011, as part of a national referendum, 98% of South Sudanese registered voters supported secession from Sudan.
A few months later, on July 9, 2011, the new nation of South Sudan was born. Unfortunately, efforts to partition the country heightened old conflicts and created new disputes.
When the Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan, this created a political dilemma for the United States.
Since some Sudanese may have become citizens of South Sudan, losing their Sudanese citizenship, the U.S. government feared they might no longer be covered as TPS beneficiaries.
As a result, South Sudan was designated for TPS benefits on October 13, 2011.
With the advent of the Trump Administration, Temporary Protected Status became a disfavored immigration program. Termination for several countries lurked around the corner.
Under the Biden Administration, these programs have been restored to full TPS benefits.
What Are The TPS Benefits For Immigrants From Sudan And South Sudan?
As with TPS beneficiaries from other countries, if you are a TPS recipient from Sudan or South Sudan, you are entitled to the following benefits:
- You are allowed to have valid immigration status for the 18 month period
- You are eligible for a work permit, which allows you to work legally in the United States
- You may be able to halt deportation and removal proceedings against you
In addition, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to become a lawful permanent resident.
Due to the short-term protections for immigrants from nations granted TPS, citizens from Sudan and South Sudan should assess their eligibility for other immigration benefits.
Although the Supreme Court cut off the possibility of a direct path for permanent residence from a grant of TPS, some TPS recipients, past and present, may be able to seek a green card under other options.
The actions taken by the Biden Administration are steps in a good direction. Yet, the long-term goals of most TPS grantees mandate exploring such measures.
By Carlos Batara, Immigration Law, Policy, And Politics