Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) led a group of House members in calling on the Trump Administration to extend and re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen due to the ongoing armed conflict within the country. TPS, once designated, allows individuals from nations experiencing war, natural disasters, or extraordinary circumstances to live and work in the United States on a temporary basis. Yemen’s TPS status expires on July 5, 2018. The status was originally designated in 2015 and re-designated in 2017 as the conflict and humanitarian crisis worsened.
“Yemen remains in a constant state of war. For this reason, TPS for Yemen is not only deserved, but warranted under the law. The outbreak of war, which was the main reason for TPS designation in September 2015, is not only ongoing today but is reaching new levels of violence throughout the country,” the lawmakers wrote. “Current TPS recipients from Yemen living in safely in the United States have contributed greatly to the social and economic welfare of our communities. Failing to extend TPS for Yemenis who have it and re-designate it for eligible individuals will put many men, women, children, and families in jeopardy and do much to undermine the security of the American homeland.”
During the designated period, eligible nationals of Yemen (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in Yemen) who are approved for TPS will not be removed from the United States. For more information about the application process and eligibility requirements, please visit www.ucis.gov/tps. Members of the community who need assistance should contact Dingell’s Dearborn office at 313-278-2936.
In addition to Dingell, the letter was signed by Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-7), James P. McGovern (MA-2), Gene Green (TX-29), Betty McCollum (MN-4), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9), Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Joe Crowley (NY-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Rick Larsen (WA-2), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Adam Smith (WA-9), David N. Cicilline (RI-1), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), David E. Price (NC-4), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), André Carson (IN-7), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Sander Levin (MI-9), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Dina Titus (NV-1), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Michael Capuano (MA-7), Ro Khanna (CA-17), John Yarmuth (KY-3), Joe Courtney (CT-2), John Delaney (MD-6), Alcee Hastings (FL-2), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-4), Peter Welch (VT), and Ted W. Lieu (CA-33).
The full letter can be read here or below.
Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Pompeo:
In less than one month, this administration will decide the fate of nearly 1,200 Yemeni nationals who have built new lives that depend upon Temporary Protected Status for their continued livelihood, safety, and survival. We write to strongly urge you to both extend and re-designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen before the deadline on July 5, 2018.
Yemen remains in a constant state of war. For this reason, TPS for Yemen is not only deserved, but warranted under the law. The outbreak of war, which was the main reason for TPS designation in September 2015, is not only ongoing today but is reaching new levels of violence throughout the country. The United Nations and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project has documented thousands of civilian deaths, with upward of 3,000 persons killed in 2018 alone. All parties involved in the war are indiscriminately targeting civilians and vital civilian infrastructure, including residences, medical centers, and transportation networks.
Moreover, the war’s widespread destruction has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, an extraordinary and temporary condition that justified the extension and re-designation of TPS in 2017. More than 22 million Yemenis—roughly three-quarters of the population—need some form of humanitarian assistance. At least 8.4 million are severely food insecure, and nearly every governorate in the country is at crisis levels for impending famine. The civil war has caused nearly 3 million Yemenis to be internally displaced, the majority of which have now been displaced for over one year, and nearly 200,000 have left for refuge across the world. Preventable diseases are rampant, with the international community recording over 1 million cases of cholera and the spread of diphtheria and measles across the country.
The case for extending TPS for the 18-month maximum allowed by the law, and re-designating TPS for eligible Yemenis, is statutorily clear. The armed conflict renders the safe return of roughly 1,200 Yemeni TPS holders in the United States unfeasible and inhumane. The humanitarian crisis represents a “substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions” for Yemenis, and the civil war and loss of territory and vital infrastructure renders the Yemeni government “unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return” of Yemenis (8 U.S.C. §1254a).
Extending and re-designating TPS for Yemen is also clearly in the interest of America’s national security. Since March 2015, the United States has been involved in a regional military campaign in support of the internationally recognized government and seeks, for the stability of Yemen and its neighbors, a negotiated settlement to the conflict and an amelioration of its resulting humanitarian crisis. The sudden return of 1,200 Yemenis will not only further undermine the international humanitarian response in Yemen, but also undermine America’s standing amongst our allies and give antagonistic states and non-state actors in the region a needless propaganda boon.
Current TPS recipients from Yemen living in safely in the United States have contributed greatly to the social and economic welfare of our communities. Failing to extend TPS for Yemenis who have it and re-designate it for eligible individuals will put many men, women, children, and families in jeopardy and do much to undermine the security of the American homeland.