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Biden extends protection for Central Americans, Nepalese in US

Biden says new migrant curbs will 'secure' US-Mexico border
Source: Video Screenshot

President Joe Biden‘s administration said Tuesday that the United States would not deport for another 18 months hundreds of thousands of people from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal, reversing a move by Donald Trump.

Under the extension of so-called Temporary Protected Status, around 337,000 immigrants who have lived for years in the United States will not be forcibly removed, with the Biden administration judging conditions in their home countries to be unsafe.

“We will continue to offer support to them through this temporary form of humanitarian relief,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

The administration, however, stopped short of extending protection to additional people from the four countries.

It will apply only to Hondurans and Nicaraguans who have been in the United States since 1998, Salvadorans since 2001 and Nepalese since 2015, with anyone who arrived afterward without authorization subject to deportation.

Trump, who is running again for president, made cracking down on immigration from non-European countries a signature issue and had rescinded the protected status for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal.

Trump’s move was put on hold due to a lawsuit, which the Biden administration’s action likely makes moot.

Salvadorans are the biggest beneficiary of the system. They were granted protected status after devastating earthquakes and it has been extended as the country remains mired in widespread violence.

Nepal was granted protected status after a major earthquake in 2015.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, head of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a faith-based group that supports migrants, called the Biden extension “welcome relief” to people who face instability, violence and environmental disasters.

“However, this acknowledgement of dire circumstances also underscores a missed opportunity to expand protections to more recent arrivals, whose return to danger would be no less devastating,” Vignarajah said.

Biden has tried to walk a tightrope on migration, criticizing the Trump policy as inhumane but also seeking to curb unauthorized entries.

The administration last month ended pandemic-era restrictions that made claiming asylum at the border all but impossible but opened more ways for migrants to apply remotely.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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