FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2022
CONTACT: Carolyn Tran, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, NY: A new coalition of immigrant rights and climate groups is calling on the Biden administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Pakistani nationals working and studying in the United States following the devastating floods across Pakistan. Today advocates sent a letter making the request for TPS designation to President Biden signed by over 120 organizations. This letter follows a similar coordinated call requesting the Department of Homeland Security grant Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from Pakistan, that was sent to administration officials on October 17 and signed by over 100 organizations. An estimated 50,000 Pakistani individuals would benefit from a TPS designation.
Both efforts were organized by Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP), Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), the Climate Justice Collaborative at the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, and the Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure Administrative Advocacy Coalition (TPS-DED AAC).
TPS is an essential component of our humanitarian relief system, allowing the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide work authorization and temporary status for people in the U.S. whose native country is experiencing ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. Pakistan remains underwater due to eight consecutive weeks of flooding that left one-third of the country flooded and devastated the country’s healthcare, education, and agricultural infrastructure. This catastrophe, compounded by a lack of resources and decades of political instability, and made worse by human-caused climate change, has displaced over 33 million people from their homes.
Last week Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appealed to world leaders at the COP 27 Climate Talks for debt relief, aid and climate reparations. Designating TPS for Pakistan would allow Pakistanis already living in the United States to remain in the country, work and provide needed support to their families and communities in Pakistan.
Carolyn Tran, Co-Director of Communities United for Status & Protection (CUSP) stated, “Increasing climate disasters are displacing people every day all across the world. It’s critical that we unify to demand climate reparations for communities that carry an outsized burden of responsibility. Pakistan emits less than 1% of the world’s planet-warming gasses, compared to the US which emits 20% of the global total, and is ranked the eighth most vulnerable nation to the climate crisis. The US has a responsibility and ability to utilize TPS to provide relief to Pakistani communities in the U.S. who cannot return home safely due to the country’s conditions and to rebuild their lives after losing so much.”
Fahd Ahmed, Executive Director of Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) stated, “It has been heart wrenching to see the immense destruction caused by massive floods in my homeland of Pakistan. Yet, knowing that we living within the US, our members at DRUM feel compelled to ensure that our government here takes responsibility not only by making loss and damage reparations, but also by ensuring that Pakistanis here in the US are able to work and live in open ways so that they can help contribute to their families, their communities, and to recovery efforts back home. The TPS and SSR programs will make that possible.”
Ahmed Gaya, Senior Strategist for Climate & Migration at the New Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) stated, “The catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, possibly the worst humanitarian disaster in a decade, is a textbook example of why Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief exist. As the impacts of climate change intensify we need to work to help those who can to stay in their homes through adaptation and humanitarian relief, and ensure those who cannot return home have a right to leave and seek refuge. In February 2021 President Biden promised to find ways to provide refuge to people displaced by climate change. As world leaders pledge funds to climate reparations at this month’s UN climate talks, it’s time for the Biden Administration to live up to their promise and expand pathways of refuge for climate displaced people. Designating Pakistan for TPS and Special Student Relief is an important first step.”
Ramya Reddy, Campaign Coordinator of the TPS-DED Administrative Advocacy Coalition stated, “We call on the immigrant rights and climate justice movement to rally in solidarity with our communities demanding reparations, to pressure governments to expeditiously shift immigration laws to receive those displaced by climate change and seeking asylum, to ease restrictions and scrutiny against organizations and individuals providing relief aid and to collectively invest in infrastructure that is sustainable, long-term and will fortify communities vulnerable to extreme weather for the inevitable future. Climate migration is already a reality today and demands attention and policy responses now—TPS is one of those responses.”
Jill Welch, Senior Policy Advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “The most recent data show more than 8,600 international students from Pakistan studying in the U.S. We urge the Biden administration to couple Special Student Relief (SSR) with TPS, rather than allowing months to go by in between the two types of relief. Much like other students whose countries of origin are experiencing crises, these students need to be allowed the flexibility to drop below course load without losing student status and to work off-campus to help mitigate enormous financial strain. SSR allows them to do just this.”
Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) is a collaborative of grassroots immigrant community organizations working together to win permanent status for our members and communities, and build a more inclusive immigrant rights movement that centers the needs and experiences of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Arab/Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrants. CUSP membership includes Adhikaar, African Communities Together (ACT), Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and UndocuBlack Network (UBN).
Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) is a multigenerational, membership led organization of low-wage South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrants, workers, and youth in New York City.
The Climate Justice Collaborative at the National Partnership for New Americans is working to create the transformative changes we need at the intersection of climate and immigration policy.
Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration is a nonpartisan, nonprofit which brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 550 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
The TPS-DED Administrative Advocacy Coalition is a national coalition of more than 100 organizations with deep expertise in law and policy surrounding TPS and DED. Member organizations range from community-based organizations directly serving impacted communities in the United States to international NGOs, working in and providing insight from affected countries.