Ilhan Omar urges redesignation of Temporary Protected Status for Somalis
US Representative Ilhan Omar has issued a letter, joined by around 30 other members of Congress, urging President Joe Biden's administration to redesignate Somalis as having Temporary Protected Status in light of their country's current humanitarian crisis.
The letter, which the Minnesota congresswoman shared on Twitter and on her website, describes the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and makes an argument for giving legal protection for Somalis residing in the US.
“Somalia is facing a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by protracted armed conflict. The security situation in Somalia remains extremely fraught, as Al-Shabaab continues to threaten the stability and safety of Somalia. Violence is rampant, with the highest number of recorded civilian casualties since 2017 according to the UN. An estimated 40 percent of the population, or 6.1 million people, are left hungry due to the drought and soaring inflation,” the Congress members wrote.
“A designation of TPS for Somalia is in line with U.S. commitments to the nation and its people,” they wrote. “An estimated 400 beneficiaries are on the verge of losing their work authorization and facing deportation if the administration fails to extend the designation."
They make the argument, "Deportation would not only threaten the safety of these individuals but would also have devastating consequences for US-citizen children of Somali TPS holders. Parents would have to make the impossible choice of whether to leave their child behind in the U.S. or take them back to dangerous conditions in Somalia.”
They noted that the designation of TPS for Somalia will expire on March 17, 2023, with a decision date on January 16, 2023. They are requesting that the Biden administration provides an 18-month extension and expand the protections to more recently arrived Somalis by redesignating Somalia for TPS.
The Department of Homeland Security can give TPS to people already in the US who are from a country that is experiencing ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or conditions that would prevent them from returning safely to their country of origin.