DHS Extends Protected Status to Thousands of Somalis in US

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The Biden administration announced Thursday that it would extend Somali temporary protected status and expand the program to allow 2,600 to remain in the United States.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that his department would stretch the TPS for another 18 months and apply it immediately to the 430 Somalis already in the program. It also allows another 2,200 eligible Somalis to join.

“Through the extension and redesignation of Somalia for temporary protected status, the United States will be able to offer safety and protection to Somalis who may not be able to return to their country due to ongoing conflict and the continuing humanitarian crisis,” Mayorkas stated.

“We will continue to offer our support to Somali nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief,” he added.

The move comes after the administration rewarded TPS to more than 100,000 Haitians living in the U.S. in May 2021 due to “social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources, which are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A number of extensions by DHS to the Haitians awarded TPS have since been applied, the most recent of which added another 18-month extension, from Feb. 4 through Aug. 3.

“We are providing much-needed humanitarian relief to Haitian nationals already present in the United States,” Mayorkas said last month. “The conditions in Haiti, including socioeconomic challenges, political instability, and gang violence and crime — aggravated by environmental disaster — compelled the humanitarian relief we are providing today.”