WASHINGTON, DC — Win Without War Director Stephen Miles released the following statement on the Trump administration’s announcement today of an 18 month extension, but not re-designation of Temporary Protected Status for Yemen:
Once again, today the Trump Administration made a heartless, cruel decision to slam shut the United States’ doors to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. In a particularly cruel twist, today’s decision serves to help lock Yemenis in a country where the United States is both directly and indirectly engaged in war. When it comes to Yemen, Donald Trump has both helped create the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and, now, trapping people in it as well.
While we welcome the Trump Administration’s decision of an 18 month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen, we are heartbroken and deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision to not re-designate TPS for Yemen. This decision would prevent Yemenis who arrived in the United States after January 2017 from applying for TPS— directly putting lives in harm’s way and traumatizing them with uncertain futures.
Given the ongoing US-enabled war and humanitarian travesty overtaking the region, we are extremely concerned that any forcible return of Yemenis who have fled the war back to their home country could be tantamount to a death sentence and worsen the already horrific crisis of human suffering in Yemen.
Yemenis who arrived in the United States after January 2017 are no less vulnerable to harm if forcibly returned than those who arrived before. The fact that even Yemen — a country home to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis — does not meet the standard under the law to receive redesignation means there is no standard and that this administration’s decisions are built on contempt for marginalized and immigrant communities — not compassion, a coherent strategy, or the rule of law.
As with Syria, El Salvador, Haiti, and so many other countries before this, the Trump Administration has shown that their singular goal is to abandon the United States from its international legal and moral obligations to be a refuge to those in need.
What’s more, today’s decision is emblematic of the US’s morally disturbing and contradictory policies towards Yemen. While American bombs, fuel and targeting assistance keep Yemen’s humanitarian nightmares and war raging, we instead expel and cut lifelines for survivors of the violence — including the Muslim Ban which bars Yemeni nationals from entering our shores and the numerous barriers to prevent Yemenis from entering the US as refugees or applying for asylum.
The US needs a comprehensive foreign policy that protects, not jeopardizes, the lives and wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including victims of war and mass suffering. Without this, we will continue to fuel hatred, cruelty, and the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.