Temporary Protected Status: Current Immigration Policy and Issues [Updated January 14, 2005] [open pdf - 852B]
"When civil unrest, violence, or natural disasters erupt in spots around the world, concerns arise over the safety of nationals from these troubled places who are in the United States. Provisions exist in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to offer temporary relief from removal under certain circumstances. The United States currently provides some type of blanket relief from deportation or forced departure to nationals from eight countries: Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan. All currently have Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Under INA, the Executive Branch grants TPS. Congress, however, has also granted TPS legislatively, and legislation that would grant TPS to nationals of specified countries has been introduced in the last several Congresses."
CRS Report for Congress, RS20844
U.S. Department of State: http://fpc.state.gov/