Washington, D.C. — Over seven months after the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and fall of the democratically-elected government of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will designate Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), according to CBS News. The measure provides temporary protection and work authorization to Afghans already present in the United States for a duration of 18 months.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) previously led 104 organizations in calling on the administration to designate Afghanistan for TPS last year. LIRS and members of the Evacuate Our Allies coalition continue to call on Congress to provide permanent protection to Afghans through the passage of the Afghan Adjustment Act and on the Biden administration to continue evacuation efforts for those left behind.
In response to the decision, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said:
“We welcome this designation as an important affirmation that Afghans already in the United States cannot return safely to their homeland. In resettling thousands of Afghan families since the evacuation, we have heard heartbreaking testimonials of devastating and devolving conditions in Afghanistan. Many of their loved ones remain in-country and still desperately need our help to reach safety.
We encourage additional TPS designations for nations that have long been reeling from armed conflict and environmental disaster, such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Mauritania, among others. In addition to saving lives, subsequent TPS designations – particularly for Black-majority nations – would represent a meaningful step towards racial equity in our immigration system.
While TPS for Afghanistan is an important protection tool, it does not address the legal limbo faced by tens of thousands of Afghans evacuated to the U.S. on humanitarian parole. Our nation’s moral obligation to our Afghan allies and friends demands the stability that only a pathway to permanent residence can provide. It is imperative that Congress deliver lasting safety by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act. Legislators have the mold from previous adjustment acts and the overwhelming support of Americans across the political spectrum. Congress must enshrine in law that our nation’s promise of protection is anything but temporary.”