Shaheen Statement on DHS Announcement that Afghans in U.S. Can Apply for TPSMarch 16, 2022
**Shaheen led Senate efforts to bolster the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program to protect Afghan allies**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, today applauded an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Afghans living in the U.S. are now eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). These new protections will help vulnerable Afghans remain in the U.S. and prevent deportation back to the unsafe and violent conditions under Taliban rule, providing safety for 18 months and work eligibility in the U.S.
“Afghanistan is currently roiled by a humanitarian crisis and extreme violence under Taliban rule. Deporting vulnerable Afghans in the U.S. back into dangerous conditions would be morally wrong. I’m pleased Secretary Mayorkas took an important step today to protect Afghan families in the U.S. by announcing they can apply for TPS – opening a pathway to safety and work eligibility,” said Shaheen. “For years, I led efforts in Congress to strengthen the SIV program to protect Afghan partners who stood shoulder to shoulder with our troops and diplomats in service of the U.S. mission and their country. Our Afghan allies still face imminent danger from the Taliban – TPS protections are one of the most important avenues to safety we can now provide. We owe it to brave Afghans who put their lives on the line to assist our military and diplomatic missions in Afghanistan.”
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a statutory status given to nationals of a certain country living in the United States if conditions in the country make return unsafe. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a country for TPS if conditions in the country meet requirements regarding ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters or other extraordinary and temporary conditions in the country that temporarily prevent safe return. TPS provides protection from deportation and permission to work in the United States for the duration of the designation.
Senator Shaheen historically partnered with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) on efforts to protect Afghans who’ve risked their lives to support U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad by strengthening the Afghan SIV program. She led bipartisan efforts in Congress to reauthorize additional Afghan SIVs. The President signed into law key provisions from the Afghan Allies Protection Act, a bill led by Shaheen and Senator Ernst, as part of spending legislation. Their legislation helps protect the Afghan civilians who risked their lives to support the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Senator Shaheen also supported legislation to establish a nonpartisan, independent commission to examine every aspect of the war in Afghanistan, including the political and strategic decisions that transformed a focused military mission into a vast, nation-building campaign that became the longest war in U.S. history.
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