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[Federal Register: May 3, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 86)]
[Notices]               
[Page 22454-22456]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr03my02-71]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Immigration and Naturalization Service

[INS No. 2196-02; AG Order No. 2578-2002]
RIN 1115-AE26

 
Extension of the Designation of Nicaragua Under the Temporary 
Protected Status Program

AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The designation of Nicaragua under the Temporary Protected 
Status (TPS) Program will expire on July 5, 2002. This notice extends 
the Attorney General's designation of Nicaragua for 12 months until 
July 5, 2003, and sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of 
Nicaragua (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided 
in Nicaragua) with TPS to re-register for the additional 12-month 
period. Re-registration is available only to persons who registered 
under the initial Nicaragua TPS designation, which ended on July 5, 
1999, or registered after that date under the late initial registration 
provisions, and timely re-registered under each subsequent extension. 
Nationals of Nicaragua (or aliens having no nationality who last 
habitually resided in Nicaragua) who have not previously applied for 
TPS may be eligible to apply for TPS under late initial registration 
provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATES: The extension of the TPS designation for Nicaragua is 
effective July 5, 2002, and will remain in effect until July 5, 2003. 
The 60-day re-registration period begins May 3, 2002 and will remain in 
effect until July 2, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily Crowder Frazelle, Program 
Analyst, Residence and Status Branch, Adjudications, Immigration and 
Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW., Room 3040, Washington, DC 
20536, telephone (202) 514-4754.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Authority Does the Attorney General Have To Extend the 
Designation of Nicaragua Under the TPS Program?

    Section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ( Act) 
states that at least 60 days before the end of a designation, or any 
extension thereof, the Attorney General must review conditions in the 
foreign state for which the designation is in effect. 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Attorney General does not determine that the 
foreign state no longer continues to meet the conditions for 
designation, the period of designation is extended automatically for 6 
months pursuant to section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act, although the 
Attorney General may exercise his discretion to extend the designation 
for a period of 12 or 18 months. 8 U.S.C.1254a(b)(3)(C).

Why Did the Attorney General Decide To Extend the TPS Designation 
for Nicaragua?

    On January 5, 1999, the Attorney General initially designated 
Nicaragua under the TPS program for a period of 18 months based on the 
severe flooding and mudslides caused by Hurricane Mitch (64 FR 526). 
The fierce storm that swept through the country killed more than 3, 000 
people, left 150,000 people homeless, and washed away roads, bridges, 
schools, and hospitals. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) 
Resource Information Center, Recommendation to Extend (April 2000). 
Following the initial designation, the Department of Justice kept a 
close watch over the progress of reconstruction in Nicaragua and 
consulted with relevant government agencies regularly. The Attorney 
General extended the Nicaragua TPS designation twice, on May 11, 2000 
(65 FR 30440) and May 8, 2001 (66 FR 23271). Each decision to extend 
the TPS designation was made on the determination that the conditions 
that warranted TPS designation initially continued to exist.
    After the extension of Nicaragua's TPS designation on May 8, 2001, 
the Departments of State and Justice continued to monitor the 
conditions in that country. Prior to his decision to extend the 
Nicaragua TPS designation, the Attorney General consulted appropriate 
government agencies to determine whether conditions warranting the TPS 
designation continue to exist in Nicaragua. Although there are strong 
indications of progress in recovery efforts, recent droughts as well as 
flooding from Hurricane Michelle in 2001 compounded the humanitarian, 
economic, and social problems initially brought on by Hurricane Mitch 
in 1998, making the country unable, temporarily, to handle the return 
of approximately 6,000 nationals.
    This assessment is consistent with a recent Department of State 
report that found that although reconstruction efforts have occurred, 
in the last year drought and another hurricane significantly affected 
Nicaragua's full recovery from Hurricane Mitch. Recommendation for 
Extension of TPS (March 22, 2002). The severe flooding alone affected 
more than 25,000 people and damaged over 3,000 houses, hampering 
reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Mitch. Id. Additionally, an 
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Resource Information 
Center report dated March 2002 found that ``[d]roughts and flooding 
from Hurricane Michelle in 2001 have added to the humanitarian, 
economic and social problems initially brought on by Hurricane Mitch in 
1998.'' The report also concludes that ``[t]hese disasters, added to 
other serious natural disasters during the intervening years, have 
produced major problems in food insecurity and unemployment of 
citizens.'' Id. Additionally, the Department of State reports that 
while the reconstruction projects for Hurricane Mitch funded by the 
United States are nearly complete, other donor projects continue. For 
example, the European Union began its disbursement of Hurricane Mitch 
reconstruction funding only in December 2001. This delay in acquiring 
foreign aid prevented rapid completion of reconstruction. Hurricane 
Michelle and the drought exacerbated the situation. Consequently, the 
conditions under which Nicaragua was designated for TPS have not ceased 
to exist and, therefore, Nicaragua remains temporarily unable to handle 
adequately the return of its nationals.
    Based on this review, the Attorney General, after consultation with 
appropriate government agencies, finds that the conditions that 
prompted designation of Nicaragua under the TPS program continue to be 
met, and a 12-month extension is warranted. 8 U.S.C.1254a(b)(3)(C). 
There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of 
living conditions in Nicaragua as a result of environmental disaster, 
and Nicaragua continues to be unable, temporarily, to handle

[[Page 22455]]

adequately the return of its nationals. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(B)(i)-
(ii). On the basis of these findings, the Attorney General concludes 
that the TPS designation for Nicaragua should be extended for an 
additional 12-month period. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

If I Currently Have TPS Through the Nicaragua TPS Program, Do I 
Still Re-register for TPS?

    Yes. If you already have been granted TPS through the Nicaragua TPS 
program, your status will expire on July 5, 2002. Accordingly, you must 
re-register for TPS in order to maintain your status through July 5, 
2003. See the following re-registration instructions.

If I am Currently Registered for TPS, How Do I Reregister for an 
Extension?

    All persons previously granted TPS under the Nicaragua program who 
wish to maintain such status must apply for an extension by filing (1) 
a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, without the 
filing fee; (2) a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; 
and (3) two identification photographs (1\1/2\ inches x 1\1/2\ inches). 
See the chart below to determine whether you must submit the one 
hundred and twenty dollar ($120) filing fee with the Form I-765. 
Applicants for an extension of TPS benefits do not need to be re-
fingerprinted and thus need not pay the fifty dollar ($50) fingerprint 
fee. Children beneficiaries of TPS who have reached the age of fourteen 
(14) but were not previously fingerprinted must pay the fifty dollar 
($50) fingerprint fee with the application for extension.
    Submit the completed forms and applicable fee, if any, to the INS 
service center office having jurisdiction over your place of residence 
during the 60-day re-registration period that begins May 3, 2002 and 
ends July 2, 2002 (inclusive of such end date).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  If--                                Then--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are applying for employment          You must complete and file the
 authorization until July 5, 2003.        Form I-765, Application for
                                          Employment Authorization, with
                                          the $120 fee.
You already have employment              You must complete and file Form
 authorization or do not require          I-765 with no fee.
 employment authorization.
You are applying for employment          You must complete and file: (1)
 authorization and are requesting a fee   Form I-765 with no fee and (2)
 waiver.                                  a fee waiver request and
                                          affidavit (and any other
                                          information) in accordance
                                          with 8 CFR 244.20.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

How Does an Application for TPS Affect My Application for Asylum or 
Other Immigration Benefits?

    An application for TPS does not affect an application for asylum or 
any other immigration benefit. A national of Nicaragua (or alien having 
no nationality who last habitually resided in Nicaragua) who is 
otherwise eligible for TPS and has applied for, or plans to apply for, 
asylum, but who has not yet been granted asylum or withholding of 
removal, may also apply for TPS. Denial of an application for asylum or 
any other immigration benefit does not affect an applicant's ability to 
apply for TPS, although the grounds for denying one form of relief may 
also be grounds for denying TPS. For example, a person who has been 
convicted of a particularly serious crime is not eligible for asylum or 
TPS. 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B)(i).

Does This Extension Allow Nationals of Nicaragua (or Aliens Having 
No Nationality Who Last Habitually Resided in Nicaragua) Who 
Entered the United States After December 30, 1998, To Apply for 
TPS?

    No. This is a notice of an extension of the TPS designation for 
Nicaragua, not a notice of re-designation of Nicaragua under the TPS 
program. An extension of TPS does not change the required dates of 
continuous residence and continuous physical presence in the United 
States. This extension does not expand TPS availability to those who 
are not already TPS class members. To be eligible for benefits under 
this extension, Nicaraguans (or aliens having no nationality and who 
last habitually resided in Nicaragua) must have resided continuously in 
the United States since December 30, 1998 and have been continuously 
physically present in the United States since January 5, 1999.

Is Late Initial Registration Possible?

    Yes. Some persons may be eligible for late initial registration 
under 8 CFR 244.2. To apply for late initial registration an applicant 
must:
    (1) Be a national of Nicaragua (or alien who has no nationality and 
who last habitually resided in Nicaragua);
    (2) Have been continuously physically present in the United States 
since January 5 1999;
    (3) Have continuously resided in the United States since December 
30, 1998; and
    (4) Be both admissible as an immigrant, except as provided under 
section 244(c)(2)(A) of the Act, and not ineligible under section 
244(c)(2)(B) of the Act.
    Additionally, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that during 
the initial registration period from January 5, 1999, through July 5, 
2000, he or she:
    (1) Was a nonimmigrant or had been granted voluntary departure 
status or any relief from removal;
    (2) Had an application for change of status, adjustment of status, 
asylum, voluntary departure, or any relief from removal or change of 
status pending or subject to further review or appeal;
    (3) Was a parolee or had a pending request for reparole; or
    (4) Was the spouse or child of an alien currently eligible to be a 
TPS registrant. 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2).
    An applicant for late initial registration must file an application 
for late registration within a 60-day period immediately following the 
expiration or termination of the conditions described above. 8 CFR 
244.2(g).

Notice of Extension of Designation of Nicaragua Under the TPS 
Program

    By the authority vested in me as Attorney General under sections 
244(b)(1)(B), (b)(3)(A), and (b)(3)(C) of the Act, I have consulted 
with the appropriate government agencies and determine that the 
conditions that prompted designation of Nicaragua for TPS continue to 
be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Accordingly, I order as follows:
    (1) The designation of Nicaragua under section 244(b) of the Act is 
extended for an additional 12-month period from July 5, 2002, to July 
5, 2003. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).
    (2) There are approximately 6,000 nationals of Nicaragua (or aliens 
having no nationality who last habitually resided in Nicaragua) who 
have been granted TPS and who are eligible for re-registration.
    (3) To maintain TPS, a national of Nicaragua (or an alien having no 
nationality who last habitually resided in Nicaragua) who received TPS 
during the initial designation period must re-

[[Page 22456]]

register for TPS during the 60-day re-registration period from May 3, 
2002 until July 2, 2002.
    (4) To re-register, the applicant must file the following: 1) Form 
I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status; 2) Form I-765, 
Application for Employment Authorization; and 3) two identification 
photographs (1\1/2\ inches by 1\1/2\ inches). There is no fee for a 
Form I-821 filed as part of the re-registration application. If the 
applicant requests employment authorization, he or she must submit one 
hundred and twenty dollars ($120) or a properly documented fee waiver 
request, pursuant to 8 CFR 244.20, with the Form I-765. An applicant 
who does not request employment authorization must nonetheless file 
Form I-765 along with Form I-821, but is not required to submit the 
fee. The fifty dollar ($50) fingerprint fee is required only for 
children beneficiaries of TPS who have reached the age of 14 but were 
not previously fingerprinted. Failure to re-register without good cause 
will result in the withdrawal of TPS. 8 CFR 244.17(c). Some persons who 
had not previously applied for TPS may be eligible for late initial 
registration under 8 CFR 244.2.
    (5) At least 60 days before this extension terminates on July 5, 
2003, the Attorney General will review the designation of Nicaragua 
under the TPS program and determine whether the conditions for 
designation continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Notice of that 
determination, including the basis for the determination, will be 
published in the Federal Register. 8 U.S.C 1254a(b)(3)(A).
    (6) Information concerning the extension of designation of 
Nicaragua under the TPS program will be available at local INS offices 
upon publication of this notice and the INS National Customer Service 
Center at 1-800-375-5283. This information will also be published on 
the INS website at
http://www.ins.usdoj.gov.

    Dated: April 30, 2002.
John Ashcroft,
Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 02-11129 Filed 5-1-02; 12:59 pm]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P






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