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29 January 2010

Visiting the Haitian-American Community in New York


As I write this, I am boarding a plane on my way home from New York City. While there, it was my privilege to join Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Patterson in announcing the creation of the New York Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center at the New York National Guard Armory at 1579 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.

The center will open its doors on Monday, February 1 and provide a number of services, including:
  • Creole-speaking interpretation services
  • Assistance with completing Temporary Protected Status applications
  • Access to telephones to contact appropriate federal and Haitian officials
  • Public use of computers for consulting a broad range of websites, including New York State's Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti;
  • Child guardianship and custody services
  • Legal assistance
  • Mental health services
As all of us work hard everyday to reduce the pain, suffering, and stress caused by the devastation and destruction of the earthquake in Haiti, I want to urge those who are eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to use the resources available to them in New York and on our website. Also, please be careful not to fall prey to individuals seeking to take advantage of those in need. For example, forms can be downloaded from our website or ordered via telephone at 1-800-870-3676 for free. No one should have to pay anyone else to obtain these forms.

Before heading to the airport, I took the opportunity to discuss the impact of the earthquakes on Haitians and their families in the United States during an interview on Radyo Pa Nou, a Haitian-American radio station headquartered in New York City. I discussed how Haitians can get help with TPS applications and answered questions from the Haitian community. I'm glad I had the opportunity to speak to people affected by this tragedy and I promise that USCIS will continue to do its best to help them.

Alejandro Mayorkas
Director, USCIS

Update: The USCIS website now offers videos on TPS for Haitians in Creole, French and English.

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21 January 2010

A Message from Director Mayorkas

Our hearts are with you, the people of Haiti. The tragedy you have endured, the losses you have suffered, and the uncertainties you are facing affect us deeply.

The feelings we share with you are defining our actions. Today we launch this blog to provide you with one more way that you can learn about our Temporary Protected Status program. One section of our website, http://www.uscis.gov/, is devoted to the TPS program and the information there can be found in English, French, and Creole. Our personnel are working our toll-free phone lines from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. The number is 1-800-375-5283. We will continue to do everything we can.

On this blog, please ask us questions, raise issues, and express your concerns. We are here to help you in this time of great need.

Our hearts are with you.

Alejandro Mayorkas
Director

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Temporary Protected Status Haiti

The devastating earthquakes in Haiti have made it both dangerous and virtually impossible for most Haitian nationals living in the U.S. to return to their country in the near future. To help protect those who might otherwise be repatriated to a nation struggling to recover, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.

TPS provides temporary immigration status for a specific amount of time to people of a particular nation impacted by extreme events such as wars, earthquakes or hurricanes.

For Haiti, the TPS registration period is open January 21, 2010 until July 20, 2010. You can find information and instructions on how to apply on the USCIS website. To qualify, you must:
  • Be a national of Haiti, or a person without nationality who last resided in Haiti
  • Have continuously resided in the U.S. since January 12, 2010
  • Have been continuously present in the U.S. since January 21, 2010 (the date of the Federal Register Notice)
  • Meet certain immigrant admissibility requirements, and other TPS eligibility requirements as required by law
  • Satisfactorily complete all TPS application procedures as described in the Federal Register notice announcing Haitian TPS
  • Have not been convicted of any felony or two or more misdemeanors in the United States
  • Not be subject to other criminal and security-related bars to asylum
You can find more information, as well as information in French and Creole on our 'USCIS Responds to Haiti Earthquake' page. There we have gathered the necessary forms, filing tips, an overview of TPS requirements and the registration process, and general information on other potential relief options. To see what filing and biometrics fees apply to you, please see the chart on the TPS-Haiti page.

Please remember that all TPS applicants must file Form I-765. If you do not want employment authorization, you will not have to pay a filing fee for Form I-765.
Be aware that individuals posing as legal professionals may attempt to take advantage of you by charging an additional fee for filing your applications forms. You can view a list of accredited representatives here.

Needless to say, we all share the concerns and sympathies of Director Mayorkas in this time of great need and will do our part to assist Haiti in its recovery effort.

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Comment Policy and Privacy Policy

Comment Policy

This blog was created to foster an ongoing dialogue regarding the immigration and naturalization process in the United States. We encourage readers to engage us with comments, ideas, concerns and constructive criticism. In so doing, we ask that guests respect the following ground rules:
  • We expect that participants treat each other, as well as our agency and its employees, with respect.
  • We will not post comments that contain vulgar, offensive or abusive language.
  • We will not post comments that are harassing or contain unsupported accusations or false claims.
  • We reserve the right to delete comments that are repetitive or off topic.
  • Comments with status inquiries or questions about a specific case will NOT be posted. Please contact USCIS through the appropriate channels for that information.
  • To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information such as name, Social Security number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the Blog. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. You have the option of posting comments anonymously, but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.
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  • This blog is not a substitute channel for DHS services or general questions. See "Contact Us" on www.dhs.gov, to get help from the Department and components.
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This is a moderated blog, which means all comments will be reviewed before posting.

Any posted references to commercial entities, products, services, or other nongovernmental organizations or individuals are provided solely for the information of individuals using this blog. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of USCIS, DHS, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying USCIS endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

USCIS does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. USCIS may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. USCIS does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those Web sites that may be reached through links on our Web site.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the USCIS Office of Communications through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted.

We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

The views expressed on the site by commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of USCIS or the Federal Government.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Disclosure: Furnishing this information is voluntary. USCIS reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

Privacy Policy

Here is how we handle information about your visit to our Website:

Information Collected and Stored Automatically

If you visit our site to read or download information, we collect and store the following information about your visit:
  • The name of the Internet domain (for example, "xcompany.com" if you use a private Internet access account, or "yourschool.edu" if you are connecting from a university's domain) and the IP address (a number that is automatically assigned to your computer when you are using the Internet) from which you access our site;
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access our site;
  • The date and time you access our site;
  • The Internet address of the Website from which you linked directly to our site; and
  • The pages you visit and the information you request.
This information is primarily collected for statistical analysis and technical improvements to the site. This government computer system uses software programs to create summary statistics, which may be used for such purposes as assessing what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas. In certain circumstances, however, we may take additional steps to identify you based on this information and we may share this information, including your identity, with other agencies.

If You Send Us Personal Information

If you choose to provide us with personal information, such as by sending an e-mail or by filling out a form and submitting it through our Website, we will use that information to respond to your message or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. Remember that e-mail is not necessarily secure against interception. If you communication is sensitive or includes personal information you may prefer to send it by postal mail instead.

We may share the information you give us with another government agency if your inquiry relates to that agency. In other limited circumstances, such as responses to requests from Congress and private individuals, we may be required by law to disclose information you submit. Before you submit personal information, such as on an online form, you may be given more specific guidance as to how your personal information may be used.

Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act and the regulations and records schedules of the National Archives and Records Administration, and in some cases may be covered by the Privacy Act and subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Cookies

"Cookies" are small bits of text that are either used for the duration of a session ("session cookies"), or saved on a user's hard drive in order to identify that user, or information about that user, the next time the user logs on to a Website ("persistent cookies"). This Website does not use persistent cookies, but does use session cookies to provide streamlined navigation throughout the site. These session cookies are deleted from the server soon after your session ends and are not collected or saved.

Security

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this Government computer system employs software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Anyone using this system expressly consents to such monitoring and is advised that if such monitoring reveals evidence of possible abuse or criminal activity, such evidence may be provided to appropriate law enforcement officials. Unauthorized attempts to upload or change information on this server are strictly prohibited and may be punishable by law, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996.

Terms of Use and Other Policies
  1. This World Wide Web (WWW) site is provided as a public service. Every effort is made to provide complete and accurate information. However, with the volume of documents available, often uploaded with short deadlines, we cannot guarantee there will be no errors. We will do our best to correct errors brought to our attention. With respect to documents and information on this Website, neither the U.S. Government, the Department of Homeland Security, nor their employees and contractors make any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, or warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, title, and freedom from computer virus.
  2. Information presented on this WWW site is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credit is requested. Some of the images on USCIS.gov have been licensed for use by USCIS on a non-exclusive and non-transferable basis. All other rights to these images, including without limitation and copyright, are retained by the owner of the images. They are not in the public domain and should not be used except as they appear as part of this website. If you are interested in using one of these images, please contact the USCIS Web Unit.
  3. External Websites listed on our pages are not under the control of DHS. Therefore, we make no representation concerning the content of these sites, nor can the fact that we provided this listing serve as an endorsement by DHS of any of these sites. We provide these links as a convenience only.
Privacy Policy for the Official Blog of USCIS, "The Beacon"

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department)/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will use the Beacon Blog for external relations (communications/outreach/public dialogue), to make information and services widely available to the general public, and promote transparency and accountability. The DHS/USCIS Office of Communications (OCOMM) serves as the executive agent for the Beacon Blog and controls who at DHS/USCIS has access to make changes to the page.

The DHS privacy policy and Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) govern DHS/USCIS use of this blog from a privacy perspective.  The DHS privacy policy can be found on the DHS website.  The DHS PIA “Use of Social Networking Interactions and Applications,” September 16, 2010, can be found at www.dhs.gov/privacy.

The information posted on the Beacon Blog is available to the individual posting and to any and all users of the Beacon Blog who are able to access the public-facing side of the account.  To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, do not include your full name, phone numbers, email addresses, social security number, case numbers or any other sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in your comments or responses.

DHS may share information posted on the Beacon Blog if there is a demonstrated need to know, and will only post information after it has been appropriately approved and vetted by DHS/USCIS OCOMM.