Pramila Jayapal

03/27/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/27/2024 14:05

Jayapal, Clarke, Horsford Urge Biden Administration to Designate the Democratic Republic of the Congo for Temporary Protected Status

WASHINGTON - U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), and Steven Horsford (NV-04), are leading 46 of their colleagues in a letter to President Joe Biden calling on the administration to designate the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as the country faces extreme human rights violations and persistent violence against civilians at the hands of the rebel group, M23. TPS offers temporary relief from removal and work authorization for eligible foreign nationals already in the United States who are unable to return safely to their home country.

"The people of the DRC are suffering extreme, horrifying, and irreparable human rights violations. The civilian population have faced decades of violence, arbitrary detention, sexual and gender-based violence, torture, labor trafficking, summary executions, and forced recruitment as soldiers, including children, which are all violations of international human rights treaties," the lawmakers wrote.

More than 6.9 million people in the DRC have been forcibly displaced, one of the largest internal displacements in the world, while the country also hosts more than half a million refugees from neighboring countries. These factors compound, making it more difficult for Congolese people to find a safe country in which to find refuge.

"We urge you to use all available pathways and resources under the law to protect vulnerable Congolese, including a designation of TPS for DRC or a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for DRC nationals, and Special Student Relief (SSR) for Congolese students. Taking any of these steps would ensure that Congolese people currently in the United States can be protected from being sent back to the violence that is running rampant in their home country," the lawmakers concluded.

The U.S. has accepted more refugees from the DRC than any other country, a clear recognition of the dire situation. There are approximately 2,000 Congolese citizens in the United States who could immediately benefit from a TPS designation. Roughly 6,000 American citizens live with Congolese nationals who would be eligible for TPS, meaning the designation would ensure these families are not forced to separate.

Along with Jayapal, Clarke, and Horsford, today's letter was signed by Representatives Alma Adams, Ph.D, Nanette Barragán, Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., Cori Bush, André Carson, Troy Carter, Greg Casar, Joaquin Castro, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Emanuel Cleaver II, Adriano Espaillat, Dwight Evans, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, Sylvia Garcia, Dan Goldman, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jonathan Jackson, Sheila Jackson Lee, Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Barbara Lee, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Mike Quigley, Delia Ramirez, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Rashida Tlaib, David Trone, Juan Vargas, Marc Veasey, Nydia M. Velázquez, and Frederica Wilson.

The full letter can be read here.

Issues: Immigration