Ethiopians That Might Qualify for Temporary Protected Status

Robert Warren and José Pacas
Center for Migration Studies

Credit: / Henry Olden

Ethiopians That Might Qualify for Temporary Protected Status

Human rights agencies have documented what Amnesty International has characterized as the “ferocious tide of human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the armed conflict” in Ethiopia, including large-scale killings, displacement, and sexual violence. These conditions justify and (many argue) should lead to a designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ethiopia. This paper provides estimates of US residents that might be eligible for TPS under this program.

Possible TPS for Ethiopia

CMS estimates that about 30,000 US residents would be eligible for TPS if the program applied to those who had entered the United States by 2021. Table 1 shows the estimates by state of residence.

The largest concentration of Ethiopians potentially eligible for TPS – about 9,500 or nearly one-third – resides in the Virginia-Maryland-Washington, DC area. The three next leading states are California (2,800), Texas (2,500), and Nevada (2,400).

Table 2 shows selected characteristics of Ethiopians potentially eligible for TPS. By some metrics, prospective TPS recipients from Ethiopia fare better than the average undocumented resident. About 83 percent is fluent in English compared to 59 percent of the total undocumented population. They are more likely to have health insurance (72 percent vs. 50 percent). Also, they are slightly more likely to have attended college (46 percent vs. 43 percent). On the other hand, the unemployment rate for this group is higher (11 percent) than the rate for the total undocumented population (3 percent).

CMS derived these estimates from data collected in the American Community Survey (accessed via conducted annually by the US Census Bureau. A description of the CMS estimation procedures, as well as a discussion of the plausibility of the estimates of the undocumented population, is available at

August 17, 2021


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