President Donald Trump has reportedly ended former President Barack Obama’s amnesty program for West African refugees who were fleeing African countries during the recent Ebola outbreak.
Nearly 6,000 immigrants from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone had been allowed to enter the US under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program between 2014 and 2016; however, the Trump administration has recently terminated the program, which will expire May 21.
“The widespread transmission of Ebola virus in the three countries that led to the designations has ended,” the department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement.
Recently, the World Health Organization has been focusing on recovery efforts in African nations which had been affected by the virus, and the agency said no new cases of Ebola have been reported since 2016. WHO is also working on an experimental vaccine to combat the virus.
However, for Africans who fled the virus and entered the U.S., their immigration status presently remains uncertain.
“Because I see people getting deported in other cases,” Lawrence Beah, a Sierra Leone native who sought amnesty in the U.S., stated. “I cannot sleep, and I am afraid to go out anywhere.”
According to reports, thousands of African immigrants are currently trying to find ways to stay in the U.S., once the TPS program expires, but, according to most immigration advocacy groups, it’s not likely.
“Most of them don’t qualify [to stay in the US] under any other category, especially now,” Amaha Kassa, executive director of African Communities Together, an immigrant advocacy organization in New York, stated.
In addition, USCIS has released the following statement, in part, on its website:
“USCIS is reminding the public that the designations of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone terminate effective May 21, 2017. …TPS-related Employment Authorization Documents issued under the Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone designations are only valid through May 20, 2017, and will not be renewed or extended.”
Visit https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-reminds-beneficiaries-temporary-protected-status-guinea-liberia-and-sierra-leone-may-21-termination to view USCIS’ full statement.