FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2022
Contact: Assefash Makonnen, Communications Manager, African Communities Together
firstname.lastname@example.org | (646) 629-7131
100+ ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO DESIGNATE MALI FOR TPS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, 109 organizations issued a letter to the administration urging Secretary Mayorkas to designate Mali for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months. Since 2012, the country has been experiencing ongoing armed conflict which has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths. Armed extremist groups, ethnic militias, government security forces, and Russian mercenaries regularly commit widespread human rights violations and abuses against the civilian population. Food insecurity and extreme poverty, in addition to the armed conflict, have resulted in over 6.3 million people in Mali in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Recent coups, in 2020 and 2021, have created further political and economic instability, unrest, and a security crisis that makes returning to the country extremely unsafe.
In addition to the TPS designation, the letter also requests Special Student Relief (SSR) for Malian F-1 students. SSR would allow students directly affected by the crisis to apply for employment authorization to work off campus, be exempt from regular student employment requirements, and reduce their course loads if needed.
TPS is a designation that provides life-saving protection to non-citizens in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, who cannot safely return to their home country. The Biden administration must use this tool in ways that are not discriminatory. In March, the administration rightly and swiftly designated TPS for Ukraine at the onset of its war with Russia. In contrast, Black- and Brown-majority countries, such as Cameroon, for example, typically require years of advocacy for a similar designation, despite worsening country conditions. Such disparate treatment should never exist.
Diana Konaté, Policy Director at African Communities Together, said, “For a decade, Mali has been engulfed in armed conflict that has taken the lives of countless people. During that time, the US provided no protection for Malians living in the US who were at risk of being returned to dangerous conditions. We call on the Biden administration to change course. Malian nationals currently living in the US must be protected from the life-threatening armed conflict and humanitarian crisis taking place in their home country. The current conditions on the ground warrant a TPS designation.”
About African Communities Together
African Communities Together is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for African families in the U.S. and worldwide. ACT connects African immigrants to critical services, helps Africans develop as leaders, and organizes African immigrant communities on the issues that matter.