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USA ends temporary protected status for Sudanese, extends for South Sudanese

September 19 - 2017 WASHINGTON

The United States is ending the temporary protected status for citizens of Sudan as of 2018, although Sudanese nationals currently in the country with this status can stay for one more year. After that, they will become illegal residents in the country.

The Department of Homeland Security extended the temporary protected status for citizens of South Sudan until mid-2019, it said in a statement on Monday. Temporary protected status allows nationals of certain countries, often facing armed conflict or major natural disasters, who are already in the United States to temporarily remain and work there because they cannot return safely.

Both Sudan and South Sudan’s designations were due to expire on 2 November. Sudanese nationals are allowed to stay legally for another year, but then must leave. Homeland Security (DHS) urged them in a statement to use their remaining time to “prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States” or apply for other visa types allowing them to stay.

But acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke decided to extend South Sudan’s temporary protected status until 2 May 2 2019. DHS said “because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions” that prompted the 2016 decision to grant the status to South Sudanese have persisted.

South Sudan dissolved in civil war less than two years after it gained independence from Sudan. 3.5 million people have fled their homes, and tens of thousands have reportedly died in the armed conflict that sparked between President Salva Kiir's armed supporters and those of his former deputy Riek Machar.

El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Syria and Yemen are the other countries whose nationals can qualify for temporary protected status in the United States. Since November 1997 Sudan has been designated for the temporary protected status for Sudanese nationals already present in the US and those who apply for the benefit to reside and work lawfully.

Travel ban

In March, President Donald Trump included Sudan in a new travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. He said that Sudan still harbours elements linked to terrorist groups. The Sudanese government has expressed its “deep regret and discontent” over Trump's revised travel ban that has barred its citizens from entering the US.

The revised decision bans refugee admissions and new visas for citizens of the countries: it suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and halts new visas for travellers.

(Source: Reuters)

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