Press Releases

ECDC Joins Call for Temporary Protected Status for Ethiopians

 

Arlington, Va. – “We join Congressman Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04), and the 41 Members of Congress in the call for Temporary Protected Status for Ethiopians, as the situation in the war-torn and famine-ravaged country becomes more egregious by the hour,” said Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, ECDC’s President and CEO. “The conditions are dire and desperate, warranting commensurate action on the part of the Biden Administration, to urgently grant TPS to Ethiopia,” he emphasized, pointing out the on-going civil-war and humanitarian disaster in Ethiopia has been raging for over a year.

The call made by Members of Congress to extend TPS to Ethiopians fleeing the ongoing civil war was made on May 3, 2022.

“While we commend the administration’s swift work to safeguard Ukrainians and Afghans in the United States from war and humanitarian disaster, we are deeply concerned that TPS has not yet been designated for Ethiopia given the ongoing civil war,” the Members wrote.

“As we applaud the administration’s swift work in designating TPS for Ukraine and later Afghanistan, we are concerned at the lack of new designations for majority-Black and African countries,” the letter stated. “The conditions in Ethiopia are urgent and egregious, and we call upon the administration to do its part to protect Ethiopians in the United States from deportation by designating Ethiopia for TPS.”
With up to 900,000 people in Tigray facing famine conditions, and the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in 40 years threatening famine in other parts of the country, the United States must not return anyone to such conditions and must provide protection through TPS designation, they said.

“We write to you today to request that you issue an immediate 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ethiopia,” they said.

For over a year, international non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia have documented severe famine conditions, sexual violence as a weapon of war, crumbling infrastructure, and more. On March 7, 2022, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reported even more rapidly deteriorating conditions since late 2021, including widespread “rapes and lethal air strikes.” In March 2022, the U.S. Department of State re-upped its highest-level do not travel advisory due to “armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas.

The next day, the Department of State withdrew all non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members from Ethiopia due to violence and severe supply shortages. While Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian government declared a humanitarian truce on March 24, 2022, only a tiny amount of food aid has been allowed to reach Tigray since then.

A country is typically designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions. Due to the atrocities, we have witnessed within Ukraine and Afghanistan, the TPS designation for these countries will save the lives of countless men and women. “We have witnessed extra-judicial killings, massacres, gender-based violence, and forced displacement documented in Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia living in the United States deserve the same protection from the dangers of returning to a war-torn country,” the letter says.

TPS authority stems from the same deeply held principles that underpin the U.S. refugee and asylum systems—that the United States will not return people to situations where their lives or freedom will be threatened. A country is typically designated for TPS when conditions in the country fall into one or more of the three statutory bases for designation: ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.

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About ECDC
ECDC, based in Arlington, Va., is one of the nine national resettlement agencies directly funded by the Department of State. ECDC has been resettling refugees since 1991 and works with a network of affiliate organizations around the country to empower refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated members of American society. For more information, visit www.ecdcus.org.
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