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Advocates Welcome Redesignations Of TPS For Sudan And Ukraine, Urge Similar Relief For Other Nations In Crisis

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The Biden administration announced on Friday that it will extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Sudan and Ukraine. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cited “extraordinary and temporary conditions” in both nations, including a military coup and violent clashes against civilians in Sudan, and Russia’s expanded military invasion in Ukraine.

“Since the military takeover of its government and the recent violent clashes, Sudan has experienced political instability and ongoing conflict that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Under this extension and redesignation, we will continue to offer safety and protection to Sudanese nationals until conditions in their home country improve.” In a second statement, Sec. Mayorkas said Russia’s continued invasion “requires that the United States continue to offer safety and protection to Ukrainians who may not be able to return to their country. We will continue to offer our support to Ukrainian nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.” 

We noted immediately following the announcement last week that this is not simply an extension of the existing program, but a redesignation. This means that people who’ve arrived since the original designations can now also apply for deportation protections and work permits. Currently, about 27,200 Sudanese and Ukrainian nationals cumulatively hold TPS relief. Under the redesignations, nearly 200,000 could now be eligible to apply.

The Haitian Bridge Alliance was just one of the many organizations that welcomed the announcements, calling the redesignations an “important step” that “underscores the administration’s commitment to humanitarian values and the protection of vulnerable communities during times of crisis.”

“Ukraine and Sudan have endured a series of hardships, including armed conflict, political instability, and economic turmoil,” Guerline Jozef, immigrant rights leader and executive director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, said in a statement received by America’s Voice. “The extension and re-designation of TPS is a lifeline for Ukrainian and Sudanese nationals and it grants the ability to contribute positively to American society while providing refuge from the perilous conditions back home.”

Advocates also urged the Biden administration to act on similar relief for a number of other nations in crises, including Cameroon, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritania, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Passed by Congress into law under the administration of President George H.W. Bush in 1990, TPS has been used to protect immigrants fleeing natural disasters, political instability, and humanitarian crises for many years now. Every administration has the legal authority to immediately designate, re-designate and extend these lifesaving protections (read more in our TPS 101 blog here).

“The National TPS Alliance welcomes the latest announcement from the Biden administration, and will continue to welcome any future use of its existing executive authority to protect migrants and refugees affected by natural disasters and political turmoil,” the organization said in a release received by America’s Voice. “We need this administration to take the next step and authorize the same protections to Central American communities who for decades have been gravely affected by the amassing political crisis and the devastating effects of climate change.”

America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas said last week that in light of continued inaction on fixing our broken immigration system, the new Sudan and Ukraine redesignations can be “a model for how to proceed in protecting long-term immigrants who are deeply rooted in American communities.”

“Using the powers granted to the executive by Congress to protect the nationals of many other nations in conflict via TPS would have two clear and immediate benefits,” she said. “It would help the U.S. economy by uncapping the economic contributions of immigrants granted TPS and secondly, would allow more migrants to send money home through remittances, thereby helping stabilize the countries they came from.” Cárdenas said the Biden administration “should use this power wisely and generously to benefit U.S. foreign and domestic policy. ”