National

Nepal not to seek Temporary Protected Status extension

- Post Report, Kathmandu

The government of Nepal has hinted that it would not seek a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extension to 9,000 Nepali nationals living in the United States.

Although the formal decision has not been made yet, but senior officials at the Foreign Ministry here said the government is unlikely to make a request to the US government for the extension. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, the US government listed some 9,000 Nepali nationals in the TPS on June 24, 2015 whose permission was extended up to June 24, 2018. 

However, the Nepali community living in the United States is said to be strongly lobbying to extend the TPS.

Recently, Municipal Council of the City of New Jersey had approved a resolution urging the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to exercise her authority under 244(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to retain the TPS for Nepal. “The US government decision to cancel the temporary residency permits of about 9,000 immigrants from Nepal, is unlikely to change,” said a high-ranking official at the ministry. “Besides, the Trump administration assessed that Nepal’s reconstruction pace is gaining momentum, so it is meaningless to request the US government for the extension.”

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that 9,000 Nepalis face deportation as the Trump administration prepares to cancel residency permits.

“The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to cancel the temporary residency permits of about 9,000 immigrants from Nepal, the Trump administration’s latest move to expel foreigners living in the United States with some form of provisional status,” the US daily said. Citing internal planning documents, the newspaper reported Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would give the Nepalis a one-year grace period to prepare their departure, but they would face deportation after June 24, 2019. The TPS designation was created by US Congress in 1990 to avoid sending foreigners back to nations destabilised by natural disasters, armed conflict and other catastrophes. Immigration hard-liners in the Trump administration had pushed to eliminate TPS protections whenever possible, the newspaper report says. In recent months, the DHS has canceled the residency permits of 200,000 Salvadorans, 50,000 Haitians and a smaller number of Nicaraguans and Sudanese. 

Initially, 14,000 Nepalis had applied for the TPS but after the review of their documents produced by the US immigration authorities, only around 9,000 were found eligible. The TPS status was given to Nepalis living in US without proper documentation.

The decision to extend or cancel TPS for the Nepalis has generated considerably less attention than for other groups, said the news report.

DHS officials said Nielsen had not yet signed off on the Nepal decision, but the internal documents indicate the agency is preparing to make its announcement in coming days, the report says. The DHS secretary is required to make a decision 60 days in advance of the TPS expiration date. In Nepal’s case, that deadline falls on Wednesday—the anniversary of the earthquake.

Published: 2018-04-26 08:39:57