Biden Offers Deportation Relief To Myanmar Nationals Amid Coup Chaos

The Biden administration will allow people from Myanmar to temporarily remain in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security said Friday as the southeast Asian country is wracked by violence following a military coup, in the second instance of President Joe Biden granting temporary protected status to migrants this week.

Protesters with placards with the image of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi hold a … [+]

Myanmar nationals who already live in the United States and have clean criminal records can apply for temporary protected status (TPS), permitting them to live and work here for the next 18 months.

A DHS spokesperson told Forbes this relief could apply to about 1,600 people.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas says the federal government is offering this relief because of Myanmar’s coup and violent clashes with protesters.


In early February, Myanmar’s military arrested the country’s civilian leader and took control of the government, returning the country to military rule after less than a decade of civilian-led democracy. Since then, protesters have flooded into the streets, leading to mass arrests and deadly crackdowns Amnesty International has described as “killing sprees.” The United States has responded with sanctions on Myanmar officials in recent weeks.

“Due to the military coup and security forces’ brutal violence against civilians, the people of Burma are suffering a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country,” Mayorkas said in a press release Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of people from almost a dozen countries like Syria, El Salvador and Honduras are currently enrolled in TPS due to unsafe conditions or natural disasters in their home countries. Former President Donald Trump fought to roll back these protections, an effort delayed by legal challenges, but Biden has taken the opposite tack. On Monday, he offered TPS to over 300,000 Venezuelans, in an effort to pressure President Nicolás Maduro.

TPS for Myanmar is set to last 18 months, though extensions are common. El Salvador has been listed for TPS since 2001, when the country contended with brutal earthquakes, and countries like Haiti and Syria have been on the list for nearly a decade. Plus, Biden and congressional Democrats hope to offer a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients, allowing some of them to stay permanently, though that change would require new legislation.

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