Harlem’s Espaillat Leads Congressional Colleagues In Push To Designate TPS For Afghan Citizens

August 27, 2021

Today, Representative Adriano Espaillat led 21 of his colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The letter is urging the designation of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Afghan nationals within the United States in light of the dire situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s taking over of Kabul.

“It is clear that with the Taliban taking control of Kabul, the situation in Afghanistan is dire and the safety and freedom of the Afghan people remain uncertain,” said the members in their letter. “If we were to remand Afghan citizens in the United States back to Afghanistan, it could recklessly and inhumanly endanger the lives of those returning to Afghanistan. Given our presence in Afghanistan for over two decades, it is our moral obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Afghan people currently within our borders.

“To ensure the safety and wellbeing of Afghan nationals in the United States, they must be permitted to remain in the country until it is safe to return to Afghanistan,” the members continued. “We must take up the call and provide the necessary protections to those who reside currently within our borders. Afghans are our neighbors and coworkers. Many of those who may be poised to be deported are women who, as you know, are at dire risk of violations of their human rights. We cannot forgo our commitment to uphold respect for human rights around the globe.

“We request that you designate TPS for Afghan citizens and establish a widespread campaign to notify the Afghan community of the decision and any actions that they must take to successfully apply. Given the situation in Afghanistan, we ask that this action be immediate and swift,” the members concluded.

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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a form of statutory protection from deportation for foreign nationals in the United States whose countries of origin are experiencing temporary and extraordinary conditions such as armed conflict and natural disasters that render the country unsafe for return. TPS also grants those under its protection the ability work and contribute to the United States economy.

The letter was signed by 21 Members of Congress including Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Peter Welch (D-VT), Dina Titus (NV-01), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Chellie Pingree ME-01), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D (NY-16), Val Demings (FL-10), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), and Jahana Hayes (CT-05).

Read the full letter here.

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the northwest Bronx.

First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.

He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip. Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/

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