Human Rights First Responds to TPS Decision for Afghans
WASHINGTON D.C. – Seven months after the fall of the elected government and the return of the Taliban, Human Rights First welcomes today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghans.
“We welcome today’s announcement of Temporary Protected Status for Afghans to ensure Afghans already in the U.S. do not have to fear a return to a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. We urge Congress to follow this announcement with the introduction and passage of an Afghan Adjustment Act to provide the permanent security necessary to build their lives here,” said Jennifer Quigley, Senior Director for Government Affairs. “Working with members of the Afghan-American, veterans, and refugee advocacy communities, we will continue to work for legislation that offers these allies permanent homes in the United States.”
Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported to those countries. TPS will offer Afghans without visa status and in the U.S. before March 15, 2022, protection from deportation and offers work authorization for 18 months.
“TPS lives up to its name – it is a temporary solution,” said Chris Purdy, Director of Veterans for American Ideals. “Our Afghan allies who fled violence and abuse in their own country deserve a permanent and stable home in the United States. While TPS protects these individuals from removal, it does not provide the resolution that an Afghan Adjustment Act offers. The over 70,000 Afghans who were resettled by our armed forces should be welcomed into American society as quickly as possible, and the Afghan Adjustment Act would do that.”
Human rights and immigrant rights organizations have repeatedly called for TPS designations for several countries from Africa and Central America that meet the statutory basis for designation. Human Rights First and 164 other organizations called for the Biden Administration to designate TPS for Mauritania more than one year ago. Human rights organizations have repeatedly urged the Biden administration to designate TPS for Cameroon; recently, our colleagues at Human Rights Watch released a report documenting the harms Cameroonian asylum seekers deported by U.S. authorities faced upon return to Cameroon.
“The United States must offer the same level of protection and safety to human beings from Africa and Central America without delay,” said Quigley.