SILVER SPRING, Maryland—In the fourth year of what the UN secretary general called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, the Trump administration is once again demonstrating a disregard for basic humanitarian principles in its decision to merely extend Temporary Protected Status for some people from Yemen, but not allow recent arrivals to be covered by it.
“We are appalled by this choice,” said Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “There are 22.2 million civilians in the country who need humanitarian aid, 17.8 million on the brink of starvation, and more than 1.1 million people are suffering from cholera. Clearly, no one can safely return to Yemen. To fail to offer the protection of TPS to more recently arrived Yemenis is inhumane, immoral and disgraceful.”
In a July 5 announcement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said TPS for Yemenis already covered by the status would be extended for 18 months. CLINIC and other advocates had urged Nielsen to also redesignate TPS to include Yemenis who have arrived in the United States since TPS was last redesignated in January 2017.
Yemen was first designated for Temporary Protected Status in 2015 following the outbreak of war. The Department of Homeland Security said there are 1,250 TPS holders from Yemen. It is unknown how many additional Yemenis would apply for TPS if they could. The State Department issued 2,900 nonimmigrant visas to Yemenis in the 2017 fiscal year, a possible indication of how many people might seek TPS if eligible.
“The secretary of Homeland Security has complete discretion to redesignate TPS for Yemen, complete discretion to protect lives” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s advocacy director. “This is why Congress created TPS in the first place and included the option to allow more recently arrived people to apply for protection. The secretary of Homeland Security made a calculated, deliberate choice not to use that authority.”
The Trump administration has terminated TPS for more than 300,000 people.
“These decisions are not based on the law or Congressional intent,” said Bussey, “Like the situation at the border, TPS decisions are part of the administration’s ruthless attacks on families who have been made vulnerable because horrible things have happened in their countries that are beyond their control.”
July 5, 2018
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