FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2023
Contact: Jason Lucas | email@example.com
Washington D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a redesignation and extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan for 18 months. The urgent need for TPS redesignation stemmed from surmounting barriers to long-term paths to protection for Afghan nationals and worsening conditions in Afghanistan, including violence by the Taliban and other armed-groups, economic and humanitarian crises, and erosion of the rights of women and members of religious and ethnic minority groups. Earlier this year, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) co-led a coalition, which included the Afghan-American Foundation, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and approximately 150 additional organizations, in submitting a formal request to the Biden administration for TPS redesignation for Afghanistan.
The decision is expected to allow more than 70,000 Afghans who entered the U.S through Operation Allies Welcome and an additional 14,600 Afghan nationals who arrived since the program ended in March 2022 to continue living and working in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Afghanistan’s original TPS designation, granted in March 2022, was set to expire on November 20, 2023.
In response to decision, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said:
“We commend the Biden administration for prioritizing the lives and well-being of our Afghan neighbors through these critical temporary protections. This redesignation affirms our enduring moral obligation to the allies of America’s longest war.”
“In the face of a devolving humanitarian disaster and country-wide economic collapse in Afghanistan, this TPS designation will protect Afghans from being sent back to live under the repressive and violent rule of the Taliban. However, two years after the Taliban takeover, the U.S. has failed to fully fulfill its promise of permanent protection to a population that sacrificed so much to support our mission in Afghanistan.”
“While TPS offers a vital safety net, Afghan nationals need and deserve lasting protection. Congress must provide a long-term solution by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a direct path to lawful permanent residency for Afghan evacuees left in legal limbo. Congress has previously passed similar legislation for every other modern wartime evacuee population. Lawmakers must pass this bipartisan bill to safeguard human life, honor our nation’s promises to its allies, and live up to the core American values that unite us all.”
“We encourage the Biden administration to continue granting TPS designations to vulnerable populations amid unprecedented and ongoing global displacement. As we’ve witnessed with Venezuelans, Ukrainians and other groups, TPS is a valuable tool to help stabilize those hoping to rebuild their lives in the U.S. and expand protection for people unable to return to their home countries.”