U.S. officials cite the ongoing war in Yemen, the humanitarian crisis and the COVID pandemic as reasons for the 18-month extension of TPS.
The Biden administration has expanded a program that allows Yemenis already in the United States to remain in the country without fear of deportation, saying ongoing conflict and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen makes it unsafe for them to return.
The renewed designation of the state of temporary protection (TPS) will allow approximately 1,700 Yemenis to maintain their status until March 3, 2023 and allows an estimated 480 additional Yemenis to apply, according to the Department of Homeland Security. in a statement on Tuesday.
“Yemen continues to experience worsening humanitarian and economic conditions that prevent people from being able to return home safely,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
Mayorkas cited the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, the lack of access to food, water and health, as well as the worsening economic and humanitarian situation of the COVID-19 pandemic among the reasons for the decision.
Today, @SecMayorkas announced the 18-month extension and designation of Yemen for temporary protection status #TPS. This extension and new designation will take effect from September 4, 2021 to March 3, 2023.
Read more ⬇️https://t.co/vLcrMcXdY2
– National Security (@DHSgov) July 6, 2021
The TPS for Yemenis was due to expire in September. The program does not automatically give them a path to American citizenship, but allows them to work in the U.S. and remain in the country without fear of deportation.
In 2014, the Houthi armed group took control of large strips of Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. The conflict escalated significantly in March 2015 when a military coalition of regional countries – led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – intervened to try to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The war in Yemen has sparked what the United Nations has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with tens of thousands dead, millions displaced and two-thirds of its 30 million people dependent on aid.
The UN Office for the Rights of the Child (UNICEF) he said in a report This week, millions of Yemeni children are in need of humanitarian and emergency education assistance. “Children remain the main victims of this terrible crisis, with 11.3 million requiring some form of humanitarian aid or protection,” he said.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has faced pressure from advocacy groups and members of his own Democratic Party to end Washington’s support for Saudi-led forces in Yemen, which along with the Houthis have been accused of committing war crimes during the ongoing conflict.
In February, Biden announced the end of U.S. support for coalition “offensive operations” in Yemen and halted arms sales to Saudi Arabia that had been previously approved by the Trump administration.
A group of influential U.S. lawmakers in May also urged Biden to do so help raise $ 2.5 billion in aid for Yemenis suffering from the humanitarian crisis.
The administration’s actions contrast with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who tried to phase out the program, an effort that was hampered by legal challenges.