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[Federal Register: October 1, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 190)]
[Notices]               
[Page 61664-61667]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01oc02-95]                         

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Immigration and Naturalization Service

[INS No. 2235-02; AG Order No. 2616-2002]
RIN 1115-AE26

 
Designation of Liberia Under the Temporary Protected Status 
Program

AGENCY: Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Attorney General is authorized to grant Temporary 
Protected Status (TPS) in the United States to eligible nationals of 
designated foreign

[[Page 61665]]

states or parts thereof upon a finding that such states are 
experiencing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or 
extraordinary and temporary conditions. Due to the ongoing armed 
conflict in Liberia, which prevents the safe return of Liberian 
nationals to that country, the Attorney General is designating Liberia 
for the TPS program for a period of 12 months, until October 1, 2003. 
This notice provides information regarding eligibility and application 
procedures.

DATES: This designation is effective on October 1, 2002, and will 
remain in effect until October 1, 2003. The registration period 
commences on October 1, 2002, and closes on April 1, 2003 (inclusive of 
such end date).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pearl Chang, Office of Adjudications, 
Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW., Room 3040, 
Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-4754.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Is Temporary Protected Status?

    Under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), 
8 U.S.C. 1254, the Attorney General is authorized to grant Temporary 
Protected Status in the United States to eligible nationals of 
designated foreign states or parts thereof. The Attorney General may 
designate a state or parts thereof upon a finding that such states are 
experiencing ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or 
extraordinary and temporary conditions. 8 U.S.C. 1254(b)(1).

Why Did the Attorney General Decide To Designate Liberia Under the TPS 
Program?

    Based on a thorough review by the Departments of State and Justice, 
the Attorney General finds that there is an ongoing armed conflict in 
Liberia, and that requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of 
Liberia (as well as aliens having no nationality who last habitually 
resided in Liberia) would pose a serious risk to their personal safety. 
A Department of State memorandum on Liberia states that ``[f]ighting 
between government forces and the Liberians United for Reconciliation 
and Democracy (LURD) rebels has intensified gradually over the last two 
years. * * * Fighting and instability have spread to six of Liberia's 
15 counties. The fighting has forced thousands of civilians to flee, 
both internally and to neighboring countries. Since January 2002, 
approximately 75,000 Liberians have fled to Guinea, Ivory Coast, and 
Sierra Leone. At least 120,000 Liberians have been internally displaced 
over the past year, in many cases repeatedly. In addition, government 
and rebel forces continue to commit serious human rights abuses, 
including extra-judicial killings, abductions, torture, beatings, and 
rape.'' State Department memorandum (September 5, 2002). The Department 
of State concludes that the return of nationals of Liberia to that 
country would pose a serious threat to their personal safety: 
``Civilians are directly threatened by fighting between government and 
rebel forces, including heavy artillery shelling and small arms fire, 
as well as human rights abuses. At the same time, civilians suffer 
increasingly from deteriorating humanitarian conditions related to the 
fighting, and several areas of the country are inaccessible to relief 
organizations. Liberia's vital services, such as food, water/
sanitation, shelter and health, are on the verge of collapse.'' Id.
    Likewise, the Resource Information Center of the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (Service or INS) assessed conditions in Liberia 
and found deteriorating security, human rights, and humanitarian 
situation in Liberia, thereby concluding that ``* * * conditions are 
not favorable for the safe return of Liberian nationals to Liberia at 
this time due to ongoing armed conflict which has resulted in political 
instability, human rights violations against perceived opponents and 
LURD sympathizers, insecurity leading to widespread displacement, both 
internally and externally, of the Liberian population, and the 
resulting humanitarian crisis resulting from this situation.'' INS 
Resource Information Center Report (September 10, 2002).
    Based on these findings, the Attorney General has determined that 
there is an ongoing armed conflict in Liberia and, due to such 
conflict, requiring the return of Liberian nationals to Liberia would 
pose a serious threat to their personal safety. 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(1)(A). The Attorney General further finds that permitting such 
aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is not contrary to 
the national interest of the United States.

Who Is Eligible for TPS Under This Designation?

    To be eligible for TPS under this designation, an alien must:
    [sbull] Be a national of Liberia (or an alien having no nationality 
who last habitually resided in Liberia);
    [sbull] Have been continuously physically present in the United 
States since October 1, 2002.
    [sbull] Have continuously resided in the United States since 
October 1, 2002.
    [sbull] Be admissible as an immigrant except as provided under 
section 244(c)(2)(A) of the Act, and not be ineligible for TPS under 
section 244(c)(2)(B) of the Act; and must
    [sbull] Apply for TPS within the registration period which begins 
on October 1, 2002, and ends on April 1, 2003.

How Do I Register for TPS?

    During the registration period that runs from October 1, 2002, 
through April 1, 2003, applicants for TPS must submit the following 
materials to the INS District Office that has jurisdiction over your 
place of residence:
    [sbull] Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status;
    [sbull] Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
    [sbull] Two identification photographs (1\1/2\ inches x 1\1/2\ 
inches);
    [sbull] Supporting evidence of identity, nationality, and proof of 
residence, as provided in the regulations at 8 CFR 244.9; and
    [sbull] All applicable fees, as discussed immediately below.

Fees

    [sbull] Each applicant must submit a $50 fee with the Form I-821.
    [sbull] Each applicant who is 14 years of age or older must also 
submit a $50 fingerprint fee.
    The chart below contains information regarding payment of the $120 
fee for Form I-765:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     If                                                      Then
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are applying for an Employment            You must submit Form I-765 with the $120 fee.
 Authorization Document valid through
 October 1, 2003.
---------------------------------------------
You already have an Employment Authorization  You must submit Form I-765 with no fee.
 Document or do not require such a document.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 61666]]

Employment Authorization Documentation

    An applicant who seeks employment authorization documentation must 
submit Form I-765 with the $120 fee. An applicant who does not seek 
employment authorization documentation does not need to submit the $120 
fee, but must still complete and submit Form I-765 for data gathering 
purposes.

Fee Waiver

    Applicants may request that certain fees be waived, in accordance 
with the regulations at 8 CFR 244.20.

Fingerprints

    While a complete TPS application package must include the $50 
fingerprint fee for every applicant who is 14 years of age or older, 
applicants should NOT submit a completed fingerprint card (FD-258, 
Application Card) with the TPS application package. Upon receipt of the 
TPS application package, the Service will mail the applicant an 
appointment letter with instructions to appear for fingerprinting at a 
Service-authorized Application Support Center (ASC).

Should I Register for TPS If I Currently Receive Deferred Enforced 
Departure (DED) Benefits?

    Many Liberians who have resided in the United States since 
September 29, 2001, have received benefits under a presidential 
directive authorizing Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), a temporary 
protection measure. On September 29, 2002, the Liberian DED directive 
expires, as do all employment authorization documents (EADs) issued to 
Liberians pursuant to that directive. Liberians who have no other 
lawful immigration status, but who wish to remain and work in the 
United States after September 29, 2002, should apply for TPS benefits 
in the manner described below.

What Is Late Initial Registration?

    Certain Liberian nationals may be eligible to apply for TPS 
subsequent to the initial registration period if, at the time of the 
initial registration period, they: (1) Are nonimmigrants; (2) have been 
granted voluntary departure status or any relief from removal; (3) have 
an application for change of status, adjustment of status, asylum, 
voluntary departure, or any relief from removal that is pending or 
subject to further review or appeal; (4) are parolees or have a pending 
request for parole; or (5) are the spouse or child of an alien 
currently eligible to be a TPS registrant. An applicant for late 
initial registration must register within a 60-day period immediately 
following the expiration or termination of one of the conditions 
described in items (1) through (5) of this paragraph. 8 CFR 
244.2(f)(2), and (g).

Does Applying for TPS Affect an Application for Asylum or Any Other 
Immigration Benefit?

    No. Any national of Liberia who has already applied for, or plans 
to apply for, any other immigration benefit or protection, may also 
apply for TPS. An application for TPS does not preclude or adversely 
affect an application for any other immigration benefit. Similarly, 
denial of an application for asylum or any other immigration benefit 
does not affect an alien's ability to register for TPS, although the 
grounds of denial of that application may also lead to denial of TPS. 
For example, an alien who has been convicted of an aggravated felony is 
not eligible for asylum or TPS.

What Happens When This TPS Designation Expires on October 1, 2003?

    At least 60 days before this TPS designation expires on October 1, 
2003, the Attorney General will review conditions in Liberia and 
determine whether the conditions that warranted designation of Liberia 
under the TPS program continue to exist. 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.
    If the initial TPS designation is extended at that time, an alien 
who has received TPS benefits must re-register under the extension in 
order to maintain TPS benefits. If, however, the Attorney General 
terminates the TPS designation, TPS beneficiaries will return to the 
same immigration status they maintained before TPS (unless that status 
had since expired or been terminated) or to any other status they may 
have acquired while registered for TPS. Accordingly, if an alien had no 
lawful immigration status prior to receiving TPS and did not obtain any 
status during the TPS period, he or she will revert to that unlawful 
status upon termination of the TPS designation.

Notice of Designation of Liberia Under the Temporary Protected Status 
Program

    By the authority vested in me as Attorney General under section 244 
of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1254a), I 
find, after consultation with the appropriate agencies of the 
government, that:
    (1) There is an ongoing armed conflict within Liberia and, due to 
such conflict, requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of 
Liberia (as well as aliens having no nationality who last habitually 
resided in Liberia) would pose a serious threat to their personal 
safety; and
    (2) Permitting nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no 
nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) to remain 
temporarily in the United States is not contrary to the national 
interest of the United States.
    Accordingly, I order as follows:
    (1) Liberia is designated under the TPS program, pursuant to 
section 244(b)(1)(A) of the Act. Nationals of Liberia (or aliens having 
no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who have been 
``continuously physically present'' and have ``continuously resided'' 
in the United States since October 1, 2002, may apply for TPS within 
the registration period, which begins on October 1, 2002, and ends on 
April 1, 2003.
    (2) I estimate that there are approximately 15,000 to 20,000 
nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last 
habitually resided in Liberia) in the United States who are eligible 
for TPS.
    (3) Except as specifically provided in this notice, TPS 
applications must be filed pursuant to the provisions of 8 CFR part 
244. Persons who wish to apply for TPS must file: (1) Form I-821, 
Application for Temporary Protected Status; (2) Form I-765, Application 
for Employment Authorization; (3) two identification photographs (1\1/
2\ inches x 1\1/2\ inches); (4) supporting evidence of identity, 
nationality, and proof of residence, as provided in the regulations at 
8 CFR 244.9; and (5) all applicable fees.
    (4) A $50 fee must accompany each Form I-821. Each applicant who is 
14 years of age or older must also submit a $50 fingerprint fee. An 
applicant who seeks employment authorization documentation must submit 
a $120 fee with Form I-765. An applicant who does not seek employment 
authorization documentation does not need to submit the $120 fee, but 
must still complete and submit Form I-765 for data-gathering purposes. 
Applicants may request certain fee waivers in accordance with 8 CFR 
244.20.
    (5) At least 60 days before the expiration of the initial period of 
designation on October 1, 2003, and after consultation with appropriate 
agencies of the government, the Attorney General will review conditions 
in Liberia and determine whether the conditions that warranted TPS 
designation continue to be met. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). Notice of that

[[Page 61667]]

determination, including the basis for the determination, will be 
published in the Federal Register.
    (6) Information concerning the TPS program for nationals of Liberia 
(or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in 
Liberia) will be available on the Service Web site, located at http://
www.ins.usdoj.gov, from the INS National Customer Service Center at (1-
800-375-5283) (TTY: 1-800-767-1833), and at local Service offices upon 
publication of this notice.

    Dated: September 26, 2002.
John Ashcroft,
Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 02-24992 Filed 9-27-02; 11:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P





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