Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday that the administration will not be deporting illegal immigrants from Afghanistan. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has introduced a new “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) that applies to all Afghans currently inside the U.S.
The announcement covers all of the Afghans brought into the country during the disastrous withdrawal of American military forces from the war-torn country last summer. Many of the Afghans transported to the U.S. were not fully vetted by government agents before their arrival inside the country. They are all now protected from deportation proceedings and will be allowed to work for at least the next 18 months.
Mayorkas said that the TPS status granted to the otherwise illegal Afghan nationals will protect them from “returning to unsafe conditions.” He added that the designation will provide assurances to “trusted partners” who supported the U.S. missions in Afghanistan over the last two decades.
The Afghan refugees brought into the U.S. as part of the evacuation last year have been released into the interior of the county on a “parole basis.” That status had provided them with temporary protection against deportation.
A DHS press release stated that the Afghan refugees were given TPS designations because of “extraordinary and temporary conditions” still existing in Afghanistan. The press release also pointed out the unstable Afghan economy and current human rights violations as reasons for extending the temporary amnesty. Insufficient healthcare and a lack of food and water security were also cited.
As the Taliban re-took control of Afghanistan, after the withdrawal, terrorist groups like ISIS-K and al-Qaeda began violent attacks on civilians.
DHS added that TPS will not be extended to Afghans who have arrived inside the U.S. after March 15, 2022, and said that Afghans currently here will be scheduled for background and national security checks. The department did not disclose how many Afghan nationals are now eligible for TPS protection.
Since the TPS program began in 1990, more than 300,000 people from 13 nations have been given the designation.