01/17/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/17/2020 23:51
Senators Say Action Will Allow Hundreds of Somali Nationals in Minnesota, Across the Country to Stay in United States
WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN)-who last month led a Senate push to get the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend humanitarian protections granted to hundreds of Somali nationals who have taken refuge in the United States-said the Trump Administration has granted their request and extended the protections.
'Somali immigrants in Minnesota have contributed so much to the economic and cultural vitality of our state-they're our friends, coworkers, neighbors, and community leaders. But conditions in Somalia remain uncertain and unsafe as armed conflict and drought continue to compromise security within the country. For the Somali immigrants and their families who have played by the rules, the extension of their Temporary Protected Status is welcome news. As an early supporter of the SECURE Act, legislation to provide these immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, I will continue to fight for those who call the United States home. Our country's strength comes from the diversity of our people, and this is something for all Americans to celebrate,' Klobuchar said.
'Hundreds of people who would have been forced to leave this country-including many in Minnesota-are relieved by this welcome news,' Smith said. 'I'm glad the Department of Homeland Security heeded our call to extend humanitarian protections for Somalia, and I'm committed to working on a long-term solution.'
Somalia was first designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) nearly 30 years ago because of ongoing civil war, human rights abuses and violence in the country. These conditions continue to persist, including a bombing just last month that killed over 80 people. In response, Sens. Smith and Klobuchar led 16 of their Democratic Senate colleagues called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf to extend TPS for the almost 500 Somali nationals living in the United States. Without the extension of TPS, Somali nationals living in the United States would have had to quickly return to dangerous conditions in Somalia.