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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: July 1, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 126)]
[Notices]               
[Page 39106-39109]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01jy03-80]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2280-03]
RIN 1650-AB06

 
Extension of the Designation of Montserrat Under Temporary 
Protected Status Program

AGENCY: Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Homeland 
Security.

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The designation of Montserrat under the Temporary Protected 
Status (TPS) Program will expire August 27, 2003. This notice extends 
the designation of Montserrat for 12 months until August 27, 2004, and 
sets forth procedures necessary for nationals of Montserrat (or aliens 
having no nationality who last habitually resided in Montserrat) with 
TPS to re-register and to apply for an extension of their employment 
authorization documentation for the additional 12-month period. Re-
registration is limited to persons who registered under the initial 
designation, which ended on August 27, 1998, and also timely re-
registered under the extensions of designation. Certain nationals of 
Montserrat (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided 
in Montserrat) who previously have not applied for TPS may be eligible 
to apply under the late initial registration provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATES: The extension of Montserrat's TPS designation is

[[Page 39107]]

effective August 27, 2003, and will remain in effect until August 27, 
2004. The 60-day re-registration period begins July 1, 2003, and will 
remain in effect until September 2, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Mills, Department of Homeland 
Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, 425 ``I'' 
Street, NW., Room 3040, Washington, DC 20536, telephone (202) 514-4754.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Authority Does the Secretary of the Department of Homeland 
Security Have To Extend the Designation of Montserrat Under the TPS 
Program?

    On March 1, 2003, the functions of the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (Service) transferred from the Department of 
Justice to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant to the 
Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296. The responsibilities 
held by the Service for administering the TPS program were transferred 
to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
    Under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act), 
8 U.S.C. 1254a, the Secretary of DHS, after consultation with 
appropriate agencies of the Government, is authorized to designate a 
foreign state or (part thereof) for TPS. The Secretary of DHS may then 
grant TPS to eligible nationals of that foreign state (or aliens having 
no nationality who last habitually resided in that state).
    Section 244(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires the Secretary of DHS to 
review, at least 60 days before the end of the TPS designation or any 
extension thereof, the conditions in a foreign state designated under 
the TPS program to determine whether the conditions for a TPS 
designation continue to be met and, if so, the length of an extension 
of TPS. (8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A)). If the Secretary of DHS determines 
that the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for TPS 
designation, he shall terminate the designation, as provided in section 
244(b)(3)(B) of the Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B)). Finally, if the 
Secretary of DHS does not make the required determination prior to the 
60-day period prescribed by statute, section 244(b)(3)(C) of the Act 
provides for an automatic extension of TPS for an additional period of 
6 months (or, in the discretion of the Secretary of DHS, a period of 12 
or 18 months) (8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C)).

Why Did the Secretary of DHS Decide To Extend the TPS Designation for 
Montserrat?

    On August 28, 1997, the Attorney General designated Montserrat 
under the TPS program for a period of 12 months due to volcanic 
eruptions that affected the entire island and its residents. 62 FR 
45685. The Attorney General extended Montserrat's TPS designation five 
times, determining each time that the conditions warranting such 
designation continued to be met. See 67 FR 47002 (July 17, 2002); 66 FR 
40834 (August 3, 2001); 65 FR 58806 (October 2, 2000); 64 FR 48190 
(September 2, 1999); 63 FR 45864 (August 27, 1998).
    Since the date of the last extension, the Departments of Homeland 
Security and State have continued to review conditions in Montserrat. A 
12-month extension is warranted due to the threat of further volcanic 
activity, serious health risks from hazardous ash, and lack of 
infrastructure, including no functioning airport.
    Citing recommendations made by the September 2002 Montserrat 
Volcano Risk Assessment Panel and a late December 2002 appraisal of the 
situation, the Department of State reports that persons who were 
evacuated from their homes because of volcanic eruptions that occurred 
in 1997 are still unable to safely return. DOS Recommendation for the 
Extension of TPS (May 9, 2003). The amount of magma in the volcano 
continues to grow, as does its lava dome. Id. Volcanic threats to many 
areas surrounding the volcano have increased since the most recent 
Hazard and Risk Assessment, which occurred in October 2002. Id. As a 
result, the government of Montserrat expanded the ``exclusion zone'' of 
the island. BCIS Resource Information Center (May 5, 2003). The 
southern two-thirds of the island is buried in volcanic material and 
uninhabitable. Id.
    The Department of State further notes that emergency measures 
remain in place in Montserrat. DOS Recommendation for Extension of TPS. 
A lack of infrastructure, including no functioning airport, continues 
to exist. Id. Two-thirds of the pre-eruption population of 12,000 has 
left the island. Id. Unemployment is high and few jobs remain outside 
of construction, most of which is aimed at making the north end of the 
island habitable for those who remain. Id. A de facto capital has been 
built in the village of Salem, but the government continues to operate 
out of makeshift quarters. BCIS Resource Information Center.
    Based upon this review, the Secretary of DHS, after consultation 
with appropriate Government agencies, finds that the conditions that 
prompted designation of Montserrat under the TPS program continue to be 
met (8 U.S.C.1254a(b)(3)(C)). There continues to be a substantial, but 
temporary, disruption of living conditions in Montserrat as the result 
of an environmental disaster, and Montserrat continues to be unable, 
temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals (8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(1)(B)(i)-(ii)). On the basis of these findings, the Secretary 
of DHS concludes that the TPS designation for Montserrat should be 
extended for an additional 12-month period.

If I Currently Have TPS Through the Montserrat TPS Program, Do I Still 
Re-Register for TPS?

    Yes. If you already have received TPS benefits through the 
Montserrat TPS program, your benefits will expire on August 27, 2003. 
Accordingly, individual TPS beneficiaries must comply with the re-
registration requirements described below in order to maintain their 
TPS benefits through August 27, 2004. TPS benefits include temporary 
protection against removal from the United States, as well as work 
authorization, during the TPS designation period and any extension 
thereof (8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1)).

If I am Currently Registered for TPS, How Do I Re-Register for an 
Extension?

    All persons previously granted TPS under the Montserrat 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). 
Applications submitted without the required fee and/or photos will be 
returned to the applicant. See the chart below to determine whether you 
must submit the one hundred and twenty dollar ($120) filing fee with 
Form I-765. Applicants for an extension of TPS benefits do not need to 
be re-fingerprinted and thus need not pay the $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 BCIS 
district office having jurisdiction over your place of residence during 
the 60-day re-registration period that begins

[[Page 39108]]

July 1, 2003, and ends September 2, 2003 (inclusive of such end date).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    If                                  Then
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are applying for employment             You must complete and file
 authorization until August 27, 2004.        the Form I-765, Application
                                             for Employment
                                             Authorization, with the
                                             $120 fee.
You already have employment authorization   You must complete and file
 or do not require employment                Form I-765 with no fee.\1\
 authorization.
You are applying for employment             You must complete and file:
 authorization and are requesting a fee      (1) Form I-765 and (2) a
 waiver.                                     fee for waiver request and
                                             affidavit (and any other
                                             information) in accordance
                                             with 8 CFR 244.20.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ 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 process.

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, and vise versa. Denial of an application 
for asylum or any other immigration benefit does not affect an 
applicant's TPS eligibility, 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)(A)(ii); 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(c)(2)(B)(ii)).

Does This Extension Allow Nationals of Montserrat (or Aliens Having No 
Nationality Who Last Habitually Resided in Montserrat) Who Entered the 
United States After August 28, 1997, To File for TPS?

    No. This is a notice of an extension of TPS, not a notice of re-
designation of Montserrat 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, nationals of 
Montserrat (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided 
in Montserrat) must have resided continuously in the United States 
since August 22, 1997, and have been continuously physically present in 
the United States since August 28, 1997.

What Is Late Initial Registration?

    Some persons may be eligible for late initial registration under 8 
CFR 244.2(f)(2). To apply for late initial registration an applicant 
must:
    (1) Be a national of Montserrat (or alien who has no nationality 
and who last habitually resided in Montserrat);
    (2) Have been continuously physically present in the United States 
since August 28, 1997;
    (3) Have continuously resided in the United States since August 22, 
1997; 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 registration period from August 28, 1997, through August 27, 1998, 
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.
    An applicant for late initial registration must file an application 
for late registration no later than 60 days after the expiration or 
termination of the conditions described above (8 CFR 244.2(g)).

What Happens When This Extension of TPS Expires on August 27, 2004?

    At least 60 days before this extension of TPS expires on August 27, 
2004, the Secretary of DHS will review conditions in Montserrat and 
determine whether the conditions for designation under the TPS program 
continue to be met at that time, or whether the TPS designation should 
be terminated. Notice of that determination, including the basis for 
the determination, will be published in the Federal Register.
    If the 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 Secretary of DHS terminates the 
TPS designation, TPS beneficiaries will maintain the immigration status 
they had before TPS (unless that status had since expired or been 
terminated) or 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 Extension of Designation of Montserrat Under the TPS Program

    By the authority vested in me as Secretary of DHS 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 Montserrat for TPS continue to 
be met (8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A)). Accordingly, I order as follows:
    (1) The designation of Montserrat under section 244(b) of the Act 
is extended for an additional 12-month period from August 27, 2003, to 
August 27, 2004 (8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C)).
    (2) There are approximately 325 nationals of Montserrat (or aliens 
having no nationality who last habitually resided in Montserrat) who 
have been granted TPS and who are eligible for re-registration.
    (3) To maintain TPS, a national of Montserrat (or an alien having 
no nationality who last habitually resided in Montserrat) who received 
TPS during the initial designation period must re-register for TPS 
during the 60-day re-registration period from July 1, 2003, until 
September 2, 2003.
    (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). Applications submitted 
without the required fee and/or photos will be rejected. There is no 
fee for filing 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. Child beneficiaries of TPS who have reached the age 
of 14 but were not previously fingerprinted are required to pay a 
fifty-dollar ($50) fingerprint fee. 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 August 27,

[[Page 39109]]

2004, the Secretary will review the designation of Montserrat 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 
Montserrat under the TPS program will be available at local BCIS 
offices upon publication of this notice and on the BCIS Web site at 
http://www.bcis.gov/graphics/index.htm.

    Dated: June 25, 2003.
Tom Ridge,
Secretary of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 03-16567 Filed 6-30-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P




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