Adam Shaw, Fox News, September 22, 2023
The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced it will be granting deportation protections and work permits to thousands of Afghan nationals who arrived in the last year – including those who crossed illegally at the southern border – a day after it made a similar announcement for nationals from Venezuela.
DHS announced it will be both extending and redesignating Afghanistan for Temporary Protected Status – which shields nationals already in the country from deportation and allows them to apply for work permits due to conditions in their home country.
The designation is typically based on conditions in the designated country and is based on three grounds: armed ongoing conflict, environmental disasters or “extraordinary and temporary conditions.” Officials cited conditions including armed conflict in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has retaken control.
“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,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “DHS will continue to support Afghan nationals through this temporary form of humanitarian relief.”
Extending TPS means that the estimated 3,100 already protected by prior designations are granted additional benefits until May 2025. The redesignation opens up to new applicants who arrived between March 2022 and Wednesday. DHS estimates it will open the program up to 14,600 additional Afghans.
Afghans who were paroled into the United States as part of the evacuation from Afghanistan in 2021 can technically apply for TPS, but DHS said it encourages them to seek “more durable immigration pathways” for which they may be eligible than the more limited TPS.
The move comes a day after a broader re-designation of Venezuela for TPS on Wednesday, which affects a much larger population of around 472,000 Venezuelans with a cut-off date of July 31 for eligibility.