Administration’s refusal to redesignate TPS for South Sudan is reprehensible, says CLINIC

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — ”The administration’s refusal to redesignate TPS for South Sudan is reprehensible. It potentially leaves more than 2,500 people in the United States vulnerable to being sent to a country where their lives are at risk,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. “The decision goes against our Catholic belief in the dignity of the person.” 

South Sudan is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. This conflict is notorious for murders of civilians, and sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war. Just this May, hundreds of people were killed in remote villages, and more than 400,000 people have died from war since 2013. 

Added Gallagher: “Today, 84 people with TPS from South Sudan can reapply for protection in the United States, but 2,500 are left out. That is a tragedy. A man-made tragedy.”

CLINIC delivered a formal request to the administration calling for extension and redesignation, given the ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis there. CLINIC also led an interfaith letter signed by more than 200 diverse faith leaders and faith-based organizations.

Civilian casualties, human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity continue in South Sudan today, with more than 4.8 million people in need of protection. The country also faces mass hunger and lacks clean water and basic public infrastructure. In addition to the armed conflict and humanitarian crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has further taxed the nation’s weak health care system.

Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s director of advocacy, said: “South Sudanese who currently have TPS and more recently arrived people from South Sudan are in equal need of protection and safety. This is why TPS exists. The administration’s refusal to recognize this danger and provide humanitarian protection, as Congress intended, is a stain on our conscience.”

CLINIC acknowledges that the Government Accountability Office recently deemed Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf’s appointment invalid and the question of his authority is currently being litigated. Also, CLINIC has called for accountability for and oversight of the administration’s refusal to redesignate any country for protection, despite active humanitarian crises across the world.

Bussey said: “This administration was the first to fail to redesignate TPS for South Sudan, Yemen and Syria, all of which had received the maximum protection under previous administrations. They are dismantling TPS like they are dismantling asylum and U.S. refugee resettlement — and destroying lives in the process.”