The Biden administration on Thursday extended and expanded protections from deportation for some Afghan nationals already in the country, aiding those who arrived outside the U.S.-led evacuation.
The decision renews Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months for some 3,100 Afghans already in the U.S. before the fall of Kabul and extends the protections to another 14,600 additional Afghan nationals who entered the country since the Biden administration first approved TPS for the country last March.
It’s also an additional layer of protection for the nearly 80,000 Afghan evacuees living in the U.S., some of whom have applied for the status.
“Today’s announcement to extend and redesignate TPS for Afghanistan allows us to continue to offer safety and protection to Afghan nationals who are unable to return to their country,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a release.
“DHS will continue to support Afghan nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”
The move is not specifically designed to help the roughly 80,000 Afghans who came to the U.S. through the military-led evacuation, who have other options for remaining in the country.
Evacuees have been directed to apply for re-parole, a nod to the process used to “parole” Afghans into the U.S. who may not otherwise meet immigration requirements.
While advocates applauded the expansion of TPS for Afghans, many remain frustrated that Congress has not passed the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for evacuees.
“While TPS offers a vital safety net, Afghan nationals need and deserve lasting protection. Congress must provide a long-term solution by passing the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide a direct path to lawful permanent residency for Afghan evacuees left in legal limbo,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, in a release.
“Congress has previously passed similar legislation for every other modern wartime evacuee population.”
Still, DHS nodded to the impermanence of both TPS and the re-parole process, which extends Afghans’ ability to remain in the country for two years.
“DHS cannot provide legal advice but encourages Afghan parolees to seek any more durable immigration pathways, like asylum and adjustment of status, for which they may be eligible,” the department noted in its release.
Source: The Hill