Somali TPS Extension and Redesignation Welcome but Many Will be Left Behind

 

Somali TPS Extension and Redesignation Welcome but Many Will be Left Behind

On Monday 19th July, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced an 18 month extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualified migrants from Somalia. The extension will be in effect from September 18, 2021 through March 17, 2023.

The TPS redesignation is welcome news for the large number of Somali nationals who, even though eligible, have been unable to apply for TPS since 2012. Under-documented and undocumented Somalis in the US – many of them having been victims and survivors of ongoing civil war and other humanitarian crises like drought and famine – continue to face detention and deportation to Somalia.  The TPS extension in turn offers temporary reprieve for Somali nationals who, though already on TPS, remained anxious about their immediate future.

However, due in part to criminal bars written into most immigration policies, many undocumented Somalis will remain ineligible for TPS despite this redesignation. We continue to argue that these barriers to protection from detention and deportation are antiBlack measures.

Throughout US cities, Somali nationals continue to face Islamophobia and xenophobia. Specifically, the various iterations of the Countering Violence Extremism (CVE) federal program continue to criminalize Somali immigrants, stripping many of them of their green cards, and rendering many of them deportable. 

Somalia continues to be a battleground for the US’s “war on terror”. US authorities know that current conditions in the country have left hundreds of thousands of Somalis vulnerable to the consequences of extreme conflict. Somali nationals fleeing to safety should not be punished for seeking asylum and protection. 

As welcome as these extensions are, we at BAJI continue to call for Congress and the Biden administration to go beyond TPS and offer permanent protections to vulnerable immigrants. We demand permanent protections from expulsion, detention and deportation for ALL undocumented immigrants.