We at Amnesty International USA, Cameroon Advocacy Network, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and UndocuBlack Network, welcome the Department of Homeland Security’s designation of Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) This is a critical move to ensure that the estimated 75,000 nationals from Ukraine are free from the fear of being returned to the human rights catastrophe brought upon by Russia’s invasion.
Ukrainian nationals currently in the United States are students, exchange program participants, colleagues, and investors. Some have lived here for an extended period of time. Others are visiting briefly. Regardless of the reasons for their arrival, their home country is now unsafe. Since the start of the government of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international rights monitors have documented the Russian military’s wanton disregard for civilian life. Indiscriminate attacks have struck hospitals and schools, killing children in the process. The Russian government has repeatedly used explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas.
At the same time, many families and individuals across the United States have fled from extraordinary and worsening conflict and environmental disaster in countries around the world. They have sought refuge in the United States, created deep and lasting ties within our communities, and need protection from forcible return, too. We call for TPS for nationals of Afghanistan, Bahamas, Cameroon, Guatemala, Guinea, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone; and call for further protections for nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal.
This week’s designation of TPS for Sudan and redesignation of TPS for South Sudan was one step forward in greater racial equity and immigrant justice. While we applaud the swift protections for people from Ukraine, we cannot ignore the Biden Administration’s failure to act on populations from majority-Black countries like Cameroon that have been waiting for TPS designations as armed conflict in these countries worsen and violent death tolls mount by the thousands.
The designation of TPS for Ukraine is an important recognition that people should not be returned to anywhere where their human rights are under threat. As nationals from countries such as Cameroon, Ethiopia and Mauritania continue to be held in immigration detention centers in fear of removal – deportations that have often led to their torment and death – the Biden Administration must remember that these critical protections must also be extended to majority-Black countries as well. We must always seek swift protection for all and continuously work to eliminate all forms of bias within all systems in the United States, including within the immigration system.
Amnesty International USA: Gabby Arias, [email protected]
Cameroon Advocacy Network: Taisha Saintil, [email protected]
Haitian Bridge Alliance: Taisha Saintil, [email protected]
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights: Kerry Kasper, [email protected]
UndocuBlack Network: Bethelhem T. Negash, [email protected]