U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday that Ethiopians living in the United States will be granted temporary protected status for the next 18 months. File Photo by Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security on Friday gave temporary protected status for 18 months for Ethiopians living in the United States.
The agency said that the move was a result of ongoing conflict and food shortages in the African nation.
"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," Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of homeland security, said in a statement.
"Ethiopian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return due to conflict-related violence and a humanitarian crisis involving severe food shortages, flooding, drought and displacement will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve."
In June, Ethiopia's human rights commission said that more than 200 civilians were killed due to ongoing conflicts between Ethiopian government troops and forces of the Oromo Liberation Army, often referred to as the militant arm of Ethiopia's Oromo Liberation Front, which was formed in 1973.
Ethiopians in the United States will have to show they have been continuously lived in the United States as of Oct. 20, and those who attempt to travel to the United States after that date would not be eligible, the department said.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., applauded the designation, saying, "Ethiopia's spiraling armed conflict is the exact reason why we created the TPS program."
"President Biden is absolutely right in granting Ethiopian nationals long-overdue temporary deportation protections as their country faces wave after wave of unprecedented violence and upheaval that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity," Menendez said.