In response to the Trump Administration’s decision to extend but not redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalis living in the United States, Oxfam America’s Humanitarian Policy Lead Scott Paul, said:
"We are relieved that the Trump Administration has decided to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalis living in the United States but disappointed that TPS has not been redesignated, leaving many Somalis in the US at risk of forcible return to one of the world’s longest running conflicts.
It is unconscionable that the US would consider forcing Somalis in the United States back to a country that is plagued by protracted violence and ongoing insecurity, suffers from persistent drought and food insecurity, and where women and girls are at high risk of gender-based violence. Somalia is one of the world’s poorest countries and is consistently one of the world’s top refugee-producing countries. The State Department currently has a travel advisory warning against travel to Somalia “due to crime, terrorism, and piracy” and states “violent crime, such as kidnapping and murder, is common throughout Somalia.” The Somalis who have arrived in the US seeking a better life deserve better than a forced return to a country they have left in pursuit of safety and a brighter future.
Continuing to grant TPS will not solve the conflict in Somalia but is the least we can do for the Somalis who have arrived in the US seeking safety and protection, and we are grateful the US has acknowledged that conditions in Somalia are unfit for the return of TPS holders. But while the decision provides a temporary respite for the nearly 500 Somalis in the US currently with TPS, it does nothing to help other Somalis in the US who cannot apply for TPS.
Oxfam is calling on Congress to pass legislation granting Somali TPS holders permanent residency status and a path to citizenship so that they can continue to safely live and work in the US without fear of return to the devastating conditions in Somalia. The Supreme Court has already upheld the Administration’s cruel Muslim Ban policy that institutionalizes discrimination on the basis of religion, separates families, and slams the door on people from Muslim-majority nations. The very least the US can do is help to guarantee safety of these 500 Somali citizens in the US with TPS."