Somalis with TPS given 18-month extension; more recent arrivals may not seek the protection

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — The administration’s decision July 19 to extend Temporary Protected Status for Somalia will give the 500 people it covers 18 months to remain in the United States while providing no protection from deportation for other Somalis who arrived later.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the TPS recipients from Somalia who have been in the United States since May 2012 will be allowed to re-register and remain through March 17, 2020. CLINIC and other advocates had urged the administration to redesignate TPS for Somalia. That would extend the chance at TPS status to more recent arrivals from Somalia.

“Conditions in Somalia are life-threatening,” said Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “The country is currently enduring one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with a combination of ongoing violent conflict and other extraordinary conditions.” In addition to violence at the hands of the al-Qaida-affiliated movement, al-Shabaab, Somalia has been in a drought that nearly led to famine last year. The country also suffers from food insecurity, malnutrition, lack of access to health care, clean water and other basic needs

Since January 2017, six countries have had TPS terminated, affecting more than 300,000 people and their families. The Somalia decision is the third recent TPS announcement involving war-torn countries, including Syria and Yemen. Each received an extension but no redesignation.

“The administration had discretion to redesignate TPS for Somalia, just as it did with Syria and Yemen,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s advocacy director. “Its active choice not to redesignate affects hundreds of families who are seeking safety from one of the world’s most horrible humanitarian crises and ongoing conflicts.”

CLINIC and other advocacy organizations continue to call on the administration to use TPS as intended and for Congress to conduct oversight of TPS decisions.