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The changes in immigration law keep coming

It may seem to those here in New Orleans that longstanding protections for people who are not yet U.S. citizens change weekly. That may not be far from the truth. The latest immigration law under scrutiny by the federal government concerns those protected by the Temporary Protected Status program that has been in place for some time.

Under this program, immigrants from certain countries, mostly those in Central America, have been allowed to enter, live and work in the United States. Those individuals granted TPS come from countries devastated by natural disasters and/or armed conflict. Returning to their countries could mean putting themselves in harm's way. 

The argument against this program is that it was only meant to provide temporary admission to the country. However, many people have been here for several years under the program as it was extended under previous administrations. Some of the first to be affected by the changes in this program are approximately 2,500 people from Nicaragua. They have until Jan. 2019 to either leave the country or receive a change in their immigration status. Thousands of people from other countries such as Honduras and Haiti have even less time.

For those people affected by this change, there is no time to waste. Individuals living here in New Orleans under TPS may benefit from discussing their situations with an immigration law attorney. Every situation is unique, and a review of an individual's circumstances could provide legal options for remaining in the country. It may be possible to apply for and receive a change in status before any deadlines pass.

Source: npr.org, "Central American Immigrants Brace For End Of Temporary Protected Status Program", Samantha Raphelson, Nov. 10, 2017

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