Afghans in the United States can avoid deportation and obtain work permits for the next 18 months after the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday granted them temporary protected status, Axios reports.
The new designation will ensure that Afghans in the U.S. without proper documentation can continue living and working in the country without fear of return to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for at least the next year-and-a-half.
Approximately 80,000 refugees have been evacuated from Afghanistan and brought to the U.S. since the Taliban's takeover last August. Most were brought via a mechanism called parole, which provides them deportation protection and work permits temporarily.
The Hill points out, however, that in some cases those Afghans were given as little as one year to regularize their status, which left many battling a ticking clock to obtain a legal way to stay in the U.S. by the end of August or face deportation.
"This TPS designation will help to protect Afghan nationals who have already been living in the United States from returning to unsafe conditions," DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a release.
"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 move comes months after initial lobbying for TPS for Afghans and after increased criticism for the delay when the Biden administration granted TPS for Ukrainians just days into the Russian invasion.
The move will also help Afghans who are in the U.S. on student visas.
Axios explained that TPS is used when immigrant home countries cannot safely accept those who have been deported, and that as of last May, there were approximately 320,000 people living in the U.S. under the policy from 12 different nations.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.