For Immediate Release
June 28, 2018
Coalition of over 175 municipal leaders calls on Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to re-designate and extend Yemeni TPS
In anticipation of the Department of Homeland Security’s upcoming decision on Temporary Protected Status for Yemen, Cities for Action, a coalition of over 175 mayors and county executives, issued a letter today to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urging them to both re-designate and extend Yemen’s TPS designation for a full 18 months. Given the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen, a re-designation is warranted, allowing recently-arrived Yemeni nationals to register for TPS; Yemeni TPS was extended and re-designated in January 2017. An estimated 1,200 Yemen TPS recipients have resided in the United States since 2015. Forcing them to return home would put these families at risk of extreme violence, starvation, and disease. The letter urges Trump Administration officials to take into consideration the armed conflict and Yemen’s inability to safely reabsorb its nationals amidst the world’s largest current humanitarian crisis.
Below is the full text of the letter from Cities for Action:
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20528
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
June 28, 2018
Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Pompeo:
We, the mayors and county executives of the Cities for Action coalition, urge you to extend Yemen’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for a full 18 months and simultaneously re-designate the country for TPS. The same conditions that were the basis for Yemen’s initial designation for TPS persist and make it impossible for Yemeni TPS recipients to safely return to Yemen, underscoring the need for both an extension and a re-designation. Cities for Action is a nationwide, bipartisan coalition of cities and counties that advocate for policies that protect and support our immigrant residents. We are gravely concerned that failure to extend TPS for Yemen will force these TPS recipients out of our communities and put them in serious threat to their personal safety.
Safe return to Yemen is impossible due to extraordinary conditions caused by an ongoing civil war. In 2014, the Houthis, an armed insurgent group from northern Yemen, took over Sana'a, the country’s capital, and its government, leading to a violent war with the former government. The chaos has allowed terrorist organizations affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS to strengthen. The war’s effects on civilians are catastrophic; thousands have been killed or injured. Both sides in the war have also used cluster munitions and landmines, weapons banned by international treaties. In recognition of this armed conflict, Yemen was designated for TPS on September 3, 2015, and simultaneously extended and re-designated for TPS on January 4, 2017.
The same conditions that warranted Yemen’s TPS designation, extension, and re-designation persist. Yemen is currently experiencing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis according to the United Nations, which estimates that 8 million Yemini are at risk of starvation and almost half of children under 5 are malnourished. Food and other aid have been prevented from reaching Yemeni civilians. Yemen also experiences a cholera epidemic because of widespread lack of access to clean water and to adequate health care facilities. Extension and re-designation are clearly necessary due to the continued deterioration of the conditions for civilians in Yemen and the resulting need to offer protection to individuals who have arrived in the United States after the eligibility cutoff dates established by Yemen’s previous designation for TPS on January 4, 2017.
As local leaders, we prioritize the safety and well-being of our residents. Yemen clearly cannot reabsorb its nationals. We call on you to recognize the extraordinary conditions in Yemen and simultaneously extend the country’s TPS designation for a full 18 months and re-designate the country for TPS.
Cities for Action