Wednesday, March 12, 2008


18-month extension requested by Coleman allows Somalis to remain in the U.S.

Washington, D.C.— Responding to concerns raised by Senator Norm Coleman in a January letter, the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Emilio T. Gonzalez, today announced that the Department of Homeland Security will once again extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for qualified Somali citizens (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Somalia) living in the United States.
Under the new extension, those who already have TPS must re-register with USCIS to be eligible to live and work in the United States for an additional 18 months while maintaining their status.
Re-registration applications from Somali nationals will not be accepted by USCIS until the re-registration period opens on March 12, 2008. "For years, violence and humanitarian crises have plagued the people of Somalia, causing many to take refuge in the United States, particularly in Minnesota," said Coleman. "This extension was absolutely necessary, since political unrest has caused Somalia to become even more dangerous since last year's extension.
Sending them home would only add to the instability in Somalia and put these individuals at risk. As a senator from the state with the largest number of Somalis, I thank Director Gonzalez for his quick action.
Moving forward, I will continue fighting for Somalis living in my home state and for the establishment of a peaceful, democratic and functional Somali government.
"Temporary Protected Status is not a path to citizenship, but does allow qualified individuals from certain countries to temporarily remain in the United States and live and work legally.
Several other countries have been designated for TPS, including El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Liberia, Burundi and Sudan.

Previously, Coleman introduced a bipartisan resolution directing the United States to increase its support to the people of Somalia in their efforts to establish a peaceful and stable democracy.
The resolution outlines U.S. priorities in Somalia and urges the federal government to adopt a
comprehensive strategy to help Somalia overcome decades of violence, neglect and civil strife.Minnesota is the home of the largest Somali community in the U.S, with about 70,000 Somali residents.
More information can be obtained from the USCIS National Customer Service Center toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283. TPS forms are available from the toll-free USCIS Forms line, 1-800-870-3676, or from the USCIS Website:
The text of Coleman's January letter follows:

January 25, 2008Dr. Emilio T. Gonzalez
Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20529

Fax: (202) 272-8118Dear Director Gonzalez: I appreciate greatly the efforts you and the Department have undertaken in the past to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Somalia.
Today I write to request another extension. This is a matter of some urgency because the current TPS period will expire on March 17, 2008.
I believe current conditions in Somalia certainly merit another extension of at least eighteen months, since that country today is even more dangerous than it was the last time an extension was granted.
The United States of America has been the beacon of hope for Somalis currently residing here under TPS, and these individuals are concerned about their status after March 17. They depend on TPS for their employment, housing, banking, travel, health insurance, and education opportunities.
Extending their status beyond March 17, 2008 will allow these friends a safe temporary home for the immediate future while their homeland continues to strive towards security and peace.

As Senator representing the largest community of Somalis in the U.S., I urge your prompt consideration of this request. Thank you once again for all of the assistance that you continue to provide my office on matters of such great importance.


Norm Coleman
United States Senate
SOURCE: Office of Sen. Norm Coleman, March 10, 2008

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