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USA: UNHCR recommends Temporary Protected Status for Colombians

Briefing notes

USA: UNHCR recommends Temporary Protected Status for Colombians

15 November 2002

The UNHCR Regional Office in Washington recently recommended that the US Administration grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Colombian nationals currently in the United States. TPS is a time-limited, complementary form of protection which would allow nationals of a designated country to remain in the US regardless of visa status and/or asylum proceedings.

Under TPS in the US, individuals can still apply for asylum or proceed with an asylum claim already underway. In a two-page letter to Administration officials, UNHCR pointed out that the escalating humanitarian crisis in Colombia has not only resulted in the displacement of millions of civilians but is also precluding their return home. The numbers of Colombian asylum seekers are increasing dramatically in the region and in the United States. Countries neighbouring Colombia have seen dramatic increases over last year in monthly average arrivals of asylum seekers, and fighting in Colombia's border regions is intensifying. TPS for Colombians would ensure at least temporary protection and safety for the tens of thousands currently in the US.