WASHINGTON (Reuters): The U.S. government has extended Yemeni eligibility for a humanitarian program that grants deportation relief and works permits to immigrants already in the United States who cannot safely return to their home countries.
The renewed designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will allow approximately 1,700 Yemenis to keep their status through March 3, 2023, and allows an estimated 480 additional Yemenis to apply, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
“Yemen continues to experience worsening humanitarian and economic conditions that prevent individuals from safely returning to their homes,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement. Mayorkas cited the ongoing armed conflict, lack of access to food, water, and healthcare, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic’s worsening of the economic and humanitarian situation as among the reasons for the decision.
The war in Yemen has led to what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with tens of thousands killed, millions displaced and two-thirds of its 30 million population dependent on aid.
The UN’s child rights office (UNICEF) said in a report this week that millions of Yemeni children require humanitarian and emergency education assistance. “Children remain the primary victims of this terrible crisis, with 11.3 million requiring some form of humanitarian aid or protection assistance,” it said.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has faced pressure from rights groups as well as members of his own Democratic Party to end Washington’s support for Saudi-led forces in Yemen, which along with the Houthis have been accused of committing war crimes during the continuing conflict.