Special to The Dallas Examiner
Washington, D.C. – Led by the Nigerian Center in Washington, D.C., over 100 local, state, national and international organizations called for President Joe Biden, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to grant immediate designation of Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief for Nigeria.
TPS protects non-citizens in the United States, including undocumented immigrants, who cannot safely return to their home country. The designations are particularly critical to Black immigrants who may slip through cracks in the asylum system.
The coalition has also asked concerned Americans to contact their elected official to support the designation for Nigeria.
“Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy and most populous nation, is currently plagued by a state of war, strife and anarchy brought upon its citizens by regional ISIS-inspired terrorist groups. Women and children, particularly in northern Nigeria, are vulnerable to kidnappings, killings, and rape. Nigeria also has the third-highest number of internally displaced persons in Africa, with 2.7 million people displaced in 2020. Granting TPS for those who migrated to the U.S., built a home here, and raised their children will reinforce their trust in the core values of freedom and democracy,” Dr. Nelson Aluya, president of Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee, USA.
As Nigeria goes to the polls amidst unprecedented threats of violence and instability, advocates call for TPS or Deferred Enforced Departure. There have been 4,197 violent events from January 2022 to February 2023, with 11,424 reported casualties, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project’s election violence tracker.
Radical militant groups and designated terrorist factions have carried out widespread killings, kidnappings and looting throughout Nigeria. In counterattacks, the government has resorted to air strikes, resulting in the ongoing armed conflict against Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa. Civilians face the brunt of the conflict, with large-scale displacement, interrupted livelihoods, food insecurity and safety concerns. An estimated 6,500,000 people have been displaced by its complex crisis.
“Nigeria is currently facing some of its most challenging times, ranging from economic instability to the security of its citizens. However, we at the Nigerian Center firmly believe in Nigeria’s unbreakable spirit and tremendous potential. Recent reports estimate that current TPS holders and TPS-eligible individuals contribute $22 billion in wages to the U.S. economy each year, filling important gaps in an economy plagued by persistent labor shortages. And most importantly, we must advocate for U.S. citizen children to remain safe and bound to their loved ones’ TPS protections. Granting TPS or DED to Nigeria will demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the prosperity and well-being of Nigeria and its people living in the United States while also saving lives,” stated Gbenga Ogunjimi, founder and CEO of the Nigerian Center.
The Nigerian Center Inc. is the first immigrant and cultural center that serves the Nigerian American community, as well as other immigrant populations in the United States.
Individuals needing immigration assistance should contact the center online at https://www.nigeriancenter.org or call 202-330-0352.