EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Yvette Clarke tells theGrio the Congressional Black Caucus must fight so that DRC citizens are “not deported back into a situation that we know is a humanitarian crisis.”
Democrats Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., are banding together to ask President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Special Student Relief to citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In an exclusive interview, Clarke, who serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force on Immigration, told theGrio, “The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are in harm’s way. They, too, deserve temporary protected status.”
“I think it’s critical that we urge the administration to provide that designation,” said Clarke. “So that those who have been successful in making their way here can have the latitude to be able to work, have the protection of the United States, and take care of themselves and their families.”
The DRC has experienced instability since the nation gained independence in 1960; however, the DRC saw an uptick in violence in 2022 when Congolese state forces and a Rwanda-backed rebel group named the March 23 Movement began fighting over resources.
As a result, hundreds of people have lost their lives, thousands have sustained injuries, and others have been displaced.
Clarke told theGrio that the Democratic Republic of Congo is “essentially a failed state” due to the unrest in the country.
“There is a brutal regime and civil war at work right now in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” she said. “The battle for resources in that part of the continent has led to all manner of nefarious activities where murder and mayhem have been allowed to flourish.”
The New York congresswoman believes the federal government is “obligated to create opportunities for people who are in harm’s way and that our continental Africa is to be protected by the United States.”
“It’s up to members like me, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, to fight for those who have been able to make it to the United States” so that “they’re not deported back into a situation that we know is a humanitarian crisis,” she added.
In the letter, Clarke and Booker highlight that the Democratic Republic of Congo tops the list for one of the countries with the most migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. However, the DRC refugees have not received the same protections as the other countries.
An excerpt from the letter reads, “In the most recent report from Refugee Council USA, DRC topped the list of countries of origin for refugees resettled in the United States. Of the top five countries – DRC, Syria, Sudan, Burma, and Ukraine, DRC is the only country not designated for Temporary Protected Status.”
Clarke told theGrio that she believes citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo have not received protections like other countries because there has not been enough advocacy pushing for TPS.
“The more that we advocate, particularly members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the more we widen the aperture for the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Biden administration, to take action,” she said.
Clarke continued, “I think this letter is going to flag and really build some goodwill within the administration to do right by these folks who are here.”
The letter drafted by Clarke and Booker has been cosigned by 33 House members, including Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., Cori Bush, D-Mo., Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Ca. and five senators, including Ben Cardin, D-Md., the late Dianne Feinstein, D-Ca., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.
Clarke told theGrio she is hopeful Biden will respond positively to the letter.
“I believe [Biden] will take action,” she said, “I don’t think it’s something that is beyond the scope of what this administration would do.”
Clarke said if the president approves TPS protection for DRC refugees, they could see protection status within the next 30 days.
Source : Yahoo