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[Federal Register: August 25, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 164)]
[Notices]               
[Page 52297-52299]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25au04-93]                         

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

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services

[CIS No. 2324-04]

 
Termination and Re-Designation of Liberia for Temporary Protected 
Status

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

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation of Liberia 
will expire on October 1, 2004. This notice terminates the current 
designation of Liberia and re-designates Liberia for TPS. The Attorney 
General designated Liberia for TPS on October 1, 2002. The Secretary of 
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had extended Liberia TPS 
through October 1, 2004. After reviewing conditions in Liberia, the 
Secretary of DHS finds that, while the armed conflict has ended, there 
are extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent the safe return 
of nationals to Liberia. The re-designation will allow nationals of 
Liberia who have been continuously physically present in the United 
States since August 25, 2004, and continuously resided in the United 
States since October 1, 2002, to apply for TPS. This notice also sets 
forth procedures necessary for nationals of Liberia (or aliens having 
no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) to register for 
TPS. All current Liberia TPS beneficiaries who wish to continue to 
receive TPS benefits will have to register for TPS according to the 
procedures set forth in this notice.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The re-designation of Liberia's TPS designation is 
effective October 1, 2004, and will remain in effect until October 1, 
2005. The registration period begins August 25, 2004, and will remain 
in effect until February 21, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Cook, Residence and Status 
Services, Office of Programs and Regulations Development, Bureau of 
Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 
111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20529, 
telephone (202) 514-4754.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

What Authority Does the Secretary of the Department of Homeland 
Security Have To Terminate the Designation of Liberia and Re-Designate 
Liberia 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 
for administering the TPS program held by the Service were transferred 
to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
    Under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (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 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 determine that a foreign state (or part 
thereof) no longer meets the conditions for designation at least 60 
days before the designation or extension is due to expire, 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).

[[Page 52298]]

Why Did the Secretary of DHS Decide To Terminate and Re-Designate 
Liberia Under the TPS Program?

    On October 1, 2002, the Attorney General published a notice in the 
Federal Register designating Liberia under the TPS program based on its 
ongoing armed conflict. 67 FR 61664. The Secretary of DHS extended this 
TPS designation by Notice published in the Federal Register on August 
6, 2003 at 68 FR 46648, determining that the conditions warranting such 
designation continued to be met.
    Since the date of the most recent extension, DHS and the Department 
of State (DOS) have continued to review conditions in Liberia. DHS and 
DOS have determined that, because the armed conflict has concluded, the 
conditions that prompted designation no longer exist. Accordingly, the 
Secretary of DHS is terminating the designation of Liberia for TPS 
under 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B). However, the Secretary of DHS finds that 
there are extraordinary and temporary conditions in Liberia that 
prevent the safe return of certain nationals of Liberia (or aliens 
having no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia). Further, 
it is determined that it is not contrary to the national interest of 
the United States to permit nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no 
nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who qualify for TPS 
to remain temporarily in the United States. Therefore, the re-
designation of Liberia for TPS is warranted under 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(1)(C).
    DOS observes that a peace agreement has been signed and that the 
civil war has ended. (DOS Recommendation (May 12, 2004)). The BCIS 
Resource Information Center (RIC) reports that between March and May 
2004 there were no reports of conflict. (RIC Report (July 1, 2004)). 
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) program has 
begun; however, the United Nations has not completed the demobilization 
of the armed groups. (DOS Recommendation (May 12, 2004)). Approximately 
42,000 combatants from the three armed factions (Liberian government 
forces, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and 
Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL)) have been disarmed since 
December 2003. Estimates of the total number of combatants range from 
40,000 to 60,000. Id. In June 2004, the United Nations Security Council 
decided to continue sanctions on diamond and timber exports due to 
widespread corruption in the new government and failure of the 
government to effectively control large swathes of the interior. (RIC 
Report (July 1, 2004)).
    The protracted civil war has damaged Liberia's infrastructure. 
Eighty percent of the pre-war housing stock has been damaged. (RIC 
Report (July 1, 2004)). Less than ten percent of the arable land is 
under cultivation. Id. Food security, shelter, water, sanitation, and 
healthcare remain practically non-existent. (DOS Recommendation (May 
12, 2004)). Due to the damage to infrastructure caused by the civil 
war, certain nationals of Liberia cannot yet return home safely. There 
are 300,000 Liberian refugees in neighboring countries and 500,000 
displaced within Liberia. (RIC Report (July 1, 2004)). However, the 
United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) plans to begin to 
facilitate returns of Liberian refugees from surrounding countries in 
October, 2004. The current voluntary return of refugees from 
neighboring countries is already taxing the limited resources of the 
country. (DOS Recommendation (May 12, 2004)).
    Based upon this review, the Secretary of DHS, after consultation 
with appropriate government agencies, finds that the conditions that 
prompted designation of Liberia for TPS are no longer met. 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(3)(A) and (B). The armed conflict has ceased. However, the 
Secretary of DHS also finds that the damage caused by the civil war has 
led to extraordinary and temporary conditions in Liberia that prevent 
the safe return of certain nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no 
nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who originally 
registered for TPS in 2002. The Secretary of DHS also finds that 
permitting nationals of Liberia who qualify for TPS to remain 
temporarily in the United States is not contrary to the national 
interest of the United States. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C). On the basis of 
these findings, the Secretary of DHS concludes that the TPS designation 
for Liberia based on an ongoing, armed conflict should be terminated 
and Liberia should be re-designated for TPS due to extraordinary and 
temporary conditions. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B) and 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(b)(1)(C).

If I Currently Have TPS Through the Liberia TPS Designation, Do I Have 
To Register for the New TPS Designation?

    Yes. If you already have received TPS benefits through the Liberia 
TPS designation, your benefits will expire on October 1, 2004. 
Accordingly, individual TPS beneficiaries must comply with the 
registration requirements described below in order to maintain their 
TPS benefits through October 1, 2005. TPS benefits include temporary 
protection against removal from the United States, as well as 
employment authorization, during the TPS designation period and any 
extension thereof. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1).

How Do I Register for TPS Benefits?

    Applicants for TPS may register under the re-designation by filing 
(1) a Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, with the 
fifty dollar ($50) filing fee; (2) a Form I-765, Application for 
Employment Authorization; (3) two identification photographs (1\1/2\ 
inches x 1\1/2\ inches); (4) supporting evidence as required to 
establish eligibility for TPS benefits as provided in 8 CFR 244.9); and 
(5) a biometrics fee of seventy dollars ($70) for each applicant over 
age 14. See the chart below to determine whether you must submit the 
one hundred and seventy five dollar ($175) filing fee with Form I-765.
    An application submitted without the required fee and/or photos 
will be returned to the applicant. Submit the completed forms and 
applicable fee, if any, to the BCIS District Office having jurisdiction 
over your place of residence during the 180-day registration period 
that begins August 25, 2004, and ends February 21, 2005. An interim 
employment authorization document will not be issued to an applicant 
unless the Form I-765, as part of the TPS registration package, has 
been pending with BCIS more than 90 days after all requested initial 
evidence has been received, including collection of the applicant's 
fingerprints at an Application Support Center (ASC). See 8 CFR 
103.2(b)(10)(ii) and 8 CFR 274a.13(d).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                If . . .                            Then . . .
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are applying for employment          You must complete and file the
 authorization until October 1, 2005.     Form I-765, Application for
                                          Employment Authorization, with
                                          the $175 fee if you are
                                          between the ages 14 and 65
                                          (inclusive).

[[Page 52299]]


You already have employment              You must complete and file Form
 authorization or do not require          I-765 with no fee.\1\
 employment authorization.
You are applying for employment          You must complete and file: (1)
 authorization and are requesting a fee   Form I-765 and (2) a fee
 waiver.                                  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 $175 fee, but must still
  complete and submit Form I-765 for data gathering purposes.

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. 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).

Can I Apply for Another Immigration Benefit While Registered for TPS?

    Yes. Registration for TPS does not prevent you from applying for 
another non-immigrant status or from filing for adjustment of status 
based on an immigrant petition. TPS alone, however, does not lead to 
adjustment of status. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(5) and 8 U.S.C. 1254a(f)(1). 
For the purposes of change of status and adjustment of status, during 
the period in which an alien is granted TPS the alien is considered as 
being in, and maintaining, lawful status as a nonimmigrant. 8 U.S.C. 
1254a(f)(4).

Does This Re-Designation Allow Nationals of Liberia (or Aliens Having 
No Nationality Who Last Habitually Resided in Liberia) Who Entered the 
United States After October 1, 2002 to Register for TPS?

    No. Although this is a notice re-designating Liberia for TPS, the 
Secretary of DHS has discretion to set the date by which TPS 
beneficiaries must have established continuous residence in the 
country. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii). This re-designation retains the 
date of continuous residence of the previous TPS designation, October 
1, 2002. To be eligible for benefits under this re-designation, 
nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last 
habitually resided in Liberia) must have been continuously physically 
present in the United States since August 25, 2004, and have 
continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002.

What Happens When This Designation of TPS Expires on October 1, 2005?

    At least 60 days before this designation of TPS expires on October 
1, 2005, the Secretary of DHS will review conditions in Liberia and 
determine whether the conditions for designation under the TPS program 
continue to be met, 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.

Notice of Termination of Designation of Liberia and Re-Designation of 
Liberia Under the TPS Program

    By the authority vested in DHS under sections 244(b)(1) and (b)(3) 
of the Act, DHS has consulted with the appropriate government agencies 
and determined that Liberia no longer meets the conditions that 
prompted designation of Liberia for TPS. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A) and 
(B). DHS has also consulted with the appropriate government agencies 
concerning the re-designation of TPS for Liberia. From these 
consultations DHS finds that, owing to the damage caused by the civil 
war, there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent 
aliens who are nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality 
who last habitually resided in Liberia) from safely returning to 
Liberia. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C). Accordingly, DHS orders as follows:
    (1) The designation of Liberia under section 244(b)(1)(A) of the 
Act is terminated. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B).
    (2) Liberia is re-designated for TPS under section 244(b)(1)(C) of 
the Act. 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).
    (3) Nationals of Liberia (or aliens having no nationality who last 
habitually resided in Liberia) who have been continuously physically 
present in the United States since August 25, 2004, and who have 
continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, may 
apply for TPS during the 180-day registration period from August 25, 
2004, until February 21, 2005.
    (4) There are approximately 3,792 nationals of Liberia (or aliens 
having no nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia) who have 
been granted TPS and who are eligible for registration under the re-
designation.
    (5) To register, the applicant must file the following: (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 by 1\1/2\ inches); (4) supporting evidence 
as required to establish eligibility for TPS benefits as provided in 8 
CFR 244.9; and (5) a biometrics fee of seventy dollars ($70) for each 
applicant over age 14. Applications submitted without the required fee 
and/or photos will be returned to the applicant. The fee for filing a 
Form I-821 is fifty dollars ($50). If the applicant is between the ages 
of 14 and 65 (inclusive) and requests employment authorization, he or 
she must submit one hundred and seventy-five dollars ($175) 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 for filing the Form I-765.
    (6) At least 60 days before this designation terminates on October 
1, 2005, the Secretary of DHS will review the designation of TPS for 
Liberia 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).
    (7) Information concerning the termination and re-designation of 
Liberia for TPS will be available at local BCIS offices upon 
publication of this notice and on the BCIS Web site at http://uscis.gov
.


    Dated: July 28, 2004.
Tom Ridge,
Secretary of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 04-19448 Filed 8-24-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4410-10-P




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