Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) led 83 members of Congress in sending a letter to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary Mike Pompeo urging them to redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia and extend the program for eighteen months. Secretary Nielsen has until July 19th to decide whether to extend or terminate TPS for Somalia, with the program currently set to expire on September 17, 2018. You can read the letter here.
TPS provides temporary lawful status to foreign nationals in the United States from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances that prevent their safe return. Armed conflict and targeted attacks on civilians still cause massive loss of life in Somalia, while famine and flood have caused widespread hunger, displacement, and contagious disease.
Statements of Representatives Ellison, Jayapal and Clarke:
Rep. Pramila Jayapal: “Somalia has repeatedly received Temporary Protected Status designation from Republican and Democratic administrations, and dire conditions of terrorism, poverty and environmental disaster persist. A departure from this policy would be cruel and inhumane. In my own district and throughout the country, Somali families are treasured members of our neighborhoods, participants in our economy, and we should not be tearing them apart and sending them into unsafe conditions. I call on the Trump administration to extend Temporary Protected Status for Somalia without delay.”
Rep. Keith Ellison: “Given the Administration’s assessment that the situation on the ground is still too dangerous to move our Embassy into Somalia and nearly half of the population continues to face food insecurity, it would be inhumane and irresponsible to force Somalis in the TPS program to leave their homes and communities here in the United States. America must continue to be a safe haven for those in need. I’m proud to represent one of the largest Somali communities in the United States, and I will continue to fight to ensure they have the protection and support they need.”
Rep. Yvette Clarke: “After decades of instability, violence tragically continues to destabilize Somalia. Al-Shabaab’s frequent attacks against military and civilians terrorizes the lives of Somalis throughout the country. This has led to 1.5 million people being internally displaced and nearly one million refugees in the nearby region. Sadly, the number of internally displaced people has only increased since the last TPS designation and drought conditions remain. For these reasons, it is imperative to re-designate Somalia for another 18 months of Temporary Protected Status in order to protect the lives of the 500 Somalis currently in the United States benefitting from this program.”