TPS Afghanistan Decision Expands Critical Temporary Protections for Afghans

By USCRI September 21, 2023

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) welcomes today’s decision by the Biden administration to extend and redesignate Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

The extension will continue protections for at least 3,100 Afghan beneficiaries of the current TPS designation in the United States. The redesignation will offer the protections of TPS— including protection from removal and work authorization— to an estimated 14,600 Afghan nationals who have arrived more recently in the United States.

USCRI played a leading role in the Afghanistan TPS campaign with other Evacuate Our Allies coalition partners, including the Afghan American Foundation (AAF) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). In May, through the support of the Temporary Protected Status-Deferred Enforced Departure Administrative Advocacy Coalition, more than 160 organizations joined a call led by LIRS, AAF, and USCRI for the redesignation and extension of Afghanistan for TPS.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced on September 21 the redesignation and extension of Afghanistan for TPS, citing ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions preventing safe returns to Afghanistan. The new designation period will run for an 18-month period from November 21, 2023, to May 20, 2025. A notice in the Federal Register contains more information on the designation.

“Today’s decision is a clear recognition of the ongoing country conditions in Afghanistan, which have continued to deteriorate under Taliban rule,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “We are grateful the Biden administration reached this determination.”

“For Afghans who currently receive TPS, this extension will provide work authorization and lawful status to pursue more permanent immigration relief, such as asylum,” Negash said. “Crucially, thousands of more recent Afghan arrivals, including those paroled at the southern border, will benefit from TPS for the first time. We are relieved this vulnerable population, in particular, will gain access to the life-saving protections of TPS.”

USCRI urges the Biden administration to maximize the protections of TPS for Afghans through improved processing times and proactive communication about the designation with current and new potential beneficiaries.

“The Biden administration is due some credit for expanding temporary protections for Afghans this year through the re-parole process for certain Afghan nationals and this TPS redesignation and extension,” Negash said.

“However, there is no substitute for the path to permanency contained in the Afghan Adjustment Act,” he added. “We urge Congress to pass this critical, bipartisan bill and for the entire U.S. government to improve protection pathways for Afghans, including U.S. Refugee Admissions Program processing of Afghan cases and the Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghans.”

USCRI will continue to call for TPS for other countries who have long met the statutory requirements for designation, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, and Mauritania.

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

For press inquiries, please contact: media@uscrimail.org.

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