x

Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Trump administration renews temporary status for 1,250 Yemenis

Secretary for Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen announced the 18-month extension hours before the deadline ran out

People rally with flags in New York to protest president Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. Some 1,250 Yemenis have been granted a reprieve from possible expulsion back to their war-torn country. AFP/Bryan R. Smith
People rally with flags in New York to protest president Donald Trump's executive order banning immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. Some 1,250 Yemenis have been granted a reprieve from possible expulsion back to their war-torn country. AFP/Bryan R. Smith

The Trump administration renewed on Thursday the temporary protected status (TPS) for 1,250 Yemenis on US soil, extending it until March of 2020 while limiting future eligibility.

Secretary for Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen announced in a statement the 18-month extension hours before the deadline affecting those cases ran out. The extension allows those Yemenis, in the US since January 2017, to stay legally on the premise that their country has faced have faced a major catastrophe and their return is not possible.

The statement said that “after carefully reviewing conditions in Yemen with interagency partners, secretary Nielsen determined that the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Yemen’s current designation for TPS continue to exist.”

“Therefore, pursuant to the statute, she has extended Yemen’s TPS designation for 18 months.” Yemen’s war, ongoing since 2015, has left more than 5,295 civilians killed and 8,873 wounded according to Human Rights Watch.

However, the TPS grant is limited to those Yemenis already in the US. “To be eligible for TPS under Yemen’s current designation ... individuals must have continuously resided in the United States since January 4, 2017, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since March 4, 2017”, the statement said.

The TPS program has not been popular with the Trump government, which has terminated it in the case of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti, affecting nearly 300,000 individuals. It did, however, renewed it last February in the case of 6,900 Syrians now protected under the program.

Senator Tim Kaine, Arab-American and human rights organsations have put public pressure on the administration in the last few weeks to renew Yemen’s TPS leading to today’s announcement.