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Despite Extension from Trump Administration, South Sudanese TPS Holders Continue to Live in Limbo

TPS advocats holding "Protect TPS" sign
Photo: Bryan Vana / AFSC

AFSC says Congress must act

WASHINGTON, DC (March 8, 2019) Today the Trump Administration announced it would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for South Sudanese people living in the U.S. TPS is a provision under which the government grants protection from deportation to people from certain countries afflicted by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – commended the extension but spoke out against the decision to not admit new people from South Sudan.  

“It’s critical that the Trump Administration not only extend but also redesignate TPS for South Sudan, which continues to struggle with extreme violence and severe food shortages,” said Peniel Ibe, Policy Associate for AFSC. “A redesignation of TPS would allow more recently arrived South Sudanese nationals to apply for protection through TPS.”

There are currently fewer than 200 TPS holders from South Sudan in the U.S. The country was originally granted TPS in 2011, shortly after it gained its independence from Sudan and in the midst of ongoing armed conflict. The political instability in South Sudan continues to generate violence, displacement, and food shortages, causing deaths and suffering for many people. In the last five years, almost 400,000 people have lost their lives, and thousands are maimed and displaced. Thousands of children are separated from their parents. South Sudan generates the largest number of refugees in Africa, and it is number three worldwide.

“Those who stay in the country often lack life-saving services and goods such as food,” explains Pauline Muchina, Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for AFSC’s Africa region. “Rape and all forms of sexual violence make the environment inhospitable for women, girls, and boys. It is inhumane for the U.S. to return anyone to these conditions or refuse refuge for those running for their lives.”

AFSC and others across the country have been working hard to try and save TPS for all countries – bringing TPS holders to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials, organizing call-in days, and holding local events. Multiple lawsuits – based on racial discrimination and infringement on the constitutional rights of TPS beneficiaries – are challenging the Administration’s termination of TPS.

“TPS recipients are integral parts of our communities,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Advocacy Coordinator for AFSC. “We are calling on Congress to enact a permanent solution that offers Lawful Permanent Residency and a pathway to citizenship for all TPS recipients and the millions of other immigrants in the U.S.”

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.

 

 

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