A plan announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in October to grant temporary protected status to Ethiopians temporarily inside the United States because of the war in their homeland is set to go into effect beginning Monday.
“The United States recognizes the ongoing armed conflict and the extraordinary and temporary conditions engulfing Ethiopia, and DHS is committed to providing temporary protection to those in need,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas when the plan was announced.
Temporary protected status, or TPS, is often granted to people visiting the United States temporarily, including students, business officials and tourists, who fear returning home to countries struck by conflict or natural disasters.
They can remain in the United States, even with expired visas, as long as the TPS order is in place.
Mayorkas’ order permits Ethiopians without permanent residence or citizenship to remain in the United States up to 18 months. TPS status can be renewed, depending on the circumstances of the home country.
To be eligible for TPS under Ethiopia’s designation, individuals must demonstrate their continuous residence in the United States since Oct. 20, 2022, and continuous physical presence in the United States since Dec. 12, 2022, according to the DHS. Individuals arriving in the United States after Oct. 20, 2022, are not eligible for TPS under this designation.
DHS said about 26,700 Ethiopians in the United States are eligible to file applications for TPS.
According to the U.S. Census, about 272,000 people in the United States came from Ethiopia.
The TPS plan is poised to go into effect even as basic services like electricity and telecoms have been restored to key parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray region following the signing of a cease-fire deal a month ago, halting hostilities in nearly two years of war but most areas are still cut off from the world.
Information for this story came from the Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.