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Nepali nationals granted protection in U.S., won’t have to return to earthquake-stricken country

By Teri Chung

Great news today! Nepali nationals already living in the United States will receive Temporary Protected Status (TPS), allowing them to stay and work in the U.S. for up to 18 months due to Nepal’s catastrophic 7.9-magnitude earthquake on April 25.

Advancing Justice | AAJC joined with other groups in early May, calling on the Department of Homeland Security to grant Temporary Protected Status for Nepali nationals. Tomorrow is the two month anniversary of the earthquake and we appreciate that DHS granted TPS as part of the administration’s response to the devastation. See photos of the devastation.

DHS can designate a foreign country for TPS in situations when there is an ongoing war or if an environmental disaster occurred in the country that makes it unsafe or too difficult to process their return. Nepal’s recent earthquake killed 5,800, injured 10,000 and displaced 2.8 million people. The earthquake also destroyed priceless landmarks and activated avalanches on Mount Everest.

About 3,000 Nepali nationals living in the United States are currently facing deportation but with TPS status, their cases are closed for at least the next 18 months, if not longer.

Democratic Representative Al Green from Texas explained the importance of this status for Nepali nationals residing in the United States: “A great nation does not force people to return to conditions that are unsafe and detrimental to their well-being. A great nation extends the hand of friendship to all during times of challenge and crisis.”

There are four specific eligibility requirements in order to qualify for TPS, which are:

1. Be a national of a TPS designated country;
2. File during open initial registration or re-registration period;
3. Have been continuously physically present in the US since the effective date of the most recent designation date; and
4. Have been continuously residing in the US since the date specified for your country.

For more information about TPS and to learn if you are eligible for TPS (or any other form of relief) visit the USCIS website.

Teri Chung is a 2015 law clerk at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. She is a second-year law student at University of Massachusetts School of Law.

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Photo: “House demolished at Araniko Highway” by Akin Amar via Creative Commons
Photo: “Nepal Earthquake April 25, 2015” by Rajan Journalist via Creative Commons

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Fighting for civil rights for all and working to empower #AAPIs to participate in our democracy. Follow: @johncyangdc @tao_minnis @meganessaheb

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