The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday that Afghan refugees in the U.S. are eligible for temporary protected status (TPS).
Under the new order, refugees who have been in the U.S. as of March 15 can receive the TPS designation for 18 months.
“This TPS designation will help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Under this designation, TPS will also provide additional protections and assurances to trusted partners and vulnerable Afghans who supported the U.S. military, diplomatic, and humanitarian missions in Afghanistan over the last 20 years.”
The Department of Homeland Security said TPS is being offered because armed conflicts continue in Afghanistan.
"Extraordinary and temporary conditions that further prevent nationals from returning in safety include a collapsing public sector, a worsening economic crisis, drought, food and water insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, internal displacement, human rights abuses and repression by the Taliban, destruction of infrastructure, and increasing criminality," DHS said in a statement.
Most Afghan nationals who arrived in the U.S. after it ended its mission in the country were already authorized to stay for two years, DHS stated. The department said they also received authorization to work in the U.S.