How Temporary Protected Status Stopped an Asylum Seeker from Being Deported

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Joseph fled his home country of Ethiopia as a result of violence and instability, and sought asylum in the US, settling down in Anne Arundel, Maryland.

When he first arrived to the US, Joseph immediately applied for asylum, citing the violence he had experienced and the political instability of his country as the primary reasons he could not return to Ethiopia. While waiting for a decision on his request for asylum, Joseph applied for and received a work permit to begin supporting himself and his potential new life in the US. Unfortunately his asylum request was denied, and USCIC promptly revoked his work permit - leaving him with no source of income to support himself.

Man hoping for Asylum status

The only option left for Joseph to get legal status in the US was to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). But with a lack of income, he couldn't afford an attorney like with his asylum case and work authorization permit. To make the situation worse, an ICE officer notified him at his ICE check-in that he would have to provide evidence of a submitted TPS application immediately. If he didn't, he would be deported.

Joseph reached out to Just Neighbors and asked for immediate assistance to prevent his deportation to Ethiopia. Recognizing the severity of the situation, Managing Attorney of Maryland and DC, Sarah Selim Milad, invited Joseph to the next immigration legal clinic to help him apply for TPS. Sarah, a team of volunteers, and Joseph were able to collect all of the necessary documentation and paperwork to apply for TPS, temporarily saving him from deportation.

The process was not an easy one. Applying for TPS can be tedious and complicated. Applicants must provide proof of continuous presence in the US, which can be difficult if they haven't had a formal job with paystubs, if they don't have a phone bill in their name, or if they don't have a bank account. Without this "primary evidence," the applicant must rely on service providers, churches, or trust community members to provide "secondary evidence," such as letters of support. Luckily, the Just Neighbors team and Joseph were able to collect enough evidence to satisfy the requirements in the TPS application.

We are still waiting for Joseph's TPS application to be approved, which will also give him a work permit that is valid for the duration of his TPS status.

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