In response to the massive need for relief and support by those victimized by the South and Southeast Asian tsunami of late December, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a series of temporary relief measures that will be made for individuals who are unable to return to their home country or are currently traveling in the U.S. because of the destruction caused by the tsunami.
USCIS will expedite the processing of some immigration applications, including applications for advance parole and relative petitions for minors from these affected areas. For those already paroled and in the U.S., this period of parole may be extended. The USCIS will also readily accept applications from nonimmigrants from these regions who are currently traveling in the U.S. and wish to seek a change of status. While security check procedures will remain in place, they will be expedited as much as possible.
As of January 7, individuals from Sri Lanka and the Maldives who are under a final order of removal will be granted a stay of removal for 90 days. This is automatic; no request or petition is needed. Stay of removal requests will also be accepted by ICE from individuals from affected regions who are non-criminals.
When appropriate and authorized by law, individuals who receive a stay of removal may be eligible to apply or receive employment authorization so that they can support themselves and/or help family members back home.