Designation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
November 8, 2022
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the designation of Ethiopia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a temporary immigration status that provides protection from deportation and work authorization to nationals of designated countries who are unable to return to their countries safely due to armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary temporary conditions. The TPS designation, a first for Ethiopia, will take effect on the date the notice is published to the Federal Register and is currently set to last for 18 months. During this time, individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States as of October 20, 2022, will be eligible to apply for TPS.
DHS granted TPS for Ethiopia based on both ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Ethiopia that prevent Ethiopian nationals, and those of no nationality who last habitually resided in Ethiopia, from returning to Ethiopia safely. Armed conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front since 2020 has caused conflict-related violence, ethnicity-based detentions, and human rights violations and abuses.  The situation in Ethiopia has been exacerbated by severe drought in the region. The country is experiencing an increase in the number of children being treated in health facilities with acute malnutrition. According to the United Nations, an estimated 8 million people were affected by drought across much of the country’s south and southwest areas following extreme weather conditions in the region as of April 2022.
The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) estimates that there are approximately 30,000 Ethiopian nationals in the United States who would be eligible for TPS (Kerwin et al. 2022).  Even though a large percentage of this population are short-term residents, they seem to be well integrated into the US economy.  Nearly 80 percent of Ethiopian nationals who would be eligible for TPS are in the labor force, and almost 70 percent are employed. However, their lack of legal status to date has left them with a lack of job security and without access to certain benefits. The designation of Ethiopia for TPS is a first step to help Ethiopians build a safe and secure life as they contribute to the local economies in which they live.
CMS commends the designation of Ethiopia for TPS amidst this dire humanitarian crisis. The Biden administration should designate/re-designate TPS for other countries experiencing similar hardships, responding to crises in a timely manner as they evolve.
 AP News, October 21, 2022, Official document describes scale of abuses in Ethiopia war. https://apnews.com/article/ethiopia-africa-kenya-0cd14684679c605f4c31effe71e0a0ea; United Nations, October 15, 2022. https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/10/1129572; United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, June 30, 2022. https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2022/06/oral-update-international-commission-human-rights-experts-ethiopia-un-human; The New York Times, Abdi Latif, Dahir, Dec. 9, 2020, Updated Nov. 17, 2021. Fleeing Ethiopians Tell of Ethnic Massacres in Tigray War. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-sudan.html; Human Rights Watch, February 11, 2021. Ethiopia: Unlawful Shelling of Tigray Urban Areas https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/11/ethiopia-unlawful-shelling-tigray-urban-areas; Ethiopia: Tigray Forces Summarily Execute Civilians, December 9, 2021; https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/12/10/ethiopia-tigray-forces-summarily-execute-civilians
 CMS estimates are based on the 2019 American Community Survey microdata (Ruggles et al. 2021). Therefore, the estimated numbers presented herein potentially represent an undercount of the total Ethiopian population currently living in the country who are eligible for TPS.
 CMS estimates indicate that 86 percent of Ethiopian nationals, who would be eligible for TPS, entered the United States in or after 2010.
Kerwin, Donald, José Pacas, and Robert Warren (2022). Ready to Stay: A Comprehensive Analysis of the US Foreign-Born Populations Eligible for Special Legal Status Programs and for Legalization Under Pending Bills. Journal on Migration and Human Security. 10(1): 37-76. DOI: 10.1177/23315024211065016.
Ruggles, Steven, Sarah Flood, Sophia Foster, Ronald Goeken, Jose Pacas, Megan Schouweiler, and Matthew Sobek (2021). IPUMS USA: Version 11.0 [dataset]. Minneapolis, MN: IPUMS. https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V11.0.
November 8, 2022