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 Extending & Not Redesignating TPS for Somalia Offers Brief Reprieve for Some While Abandoning Others

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On January 17, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will extend, but not redesignate, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional 18 months for 500 Somali nationals currently living in the U.S. The extension will exclude as many as 1,000 Somalis fleeing dangerous country conditions and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.        

Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, commented: 

The administration’s decision to extend but not redesignate TPS for Somalia is true to form. While it is an 18-month reprieve for 500 people seeking refuge from a country rebuilding itself from the ground up, it abandons a thousand or more people who have more recently fled the ongoing crisis in Somalia.

Nevermind the country’s ongoing conflict between internal forces such as Al-Shabaab, clan and intra-security forces, and international countries. This administration, while extending TPS for those who are already in the country, leaves behind those seeking refuge from the country’s conflict. In spring 2019, Trump even extended a state of national emergency in Somalia citing violence against civilians. Deemed too unsafe for Americans to travel to, this administration sees it fit to leave a thousand or more Somalis stranded by not redesignating TPS for Somalia.

This is racism at work. It’s the same racism that ended Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders from countries recovering and in the midst of violence, natural disasters, and more. TPS holders deserve more. To be exact, they deserve a path to permanent residency, which is why the Senate must pass the Dream and Promise Act to give TPS holders who have cultivated lives, families, and businesses here in the U.S. the ability to continue peacefully building their homes and communities in the place they now call home.