Dear Secretary Nielsen,
We the 211undersigned leaders of diverse faith communities and 97faith-based organizations call on you to extend for 18 months and redesignate Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for South Sudan. Our request is rooted in the morals and values of our faiths: we welcome, protect, and offer hospitality to those in need and believe that the United States must maintain its long-standing commitment to helping those seeking refuge. As the situation in South Sudan has deteriorated into one of the world’s largest humanitarian disasters—marked by targeting of civilians, mass gender-and sexual-based violence, and starvation1—the maximum protection possible under the TPS law is unequivocally demanded. South Sudan was originally designated for TPS in 2011 shortly after the country gained independence from Sudan and new waves of violence were breaking out.2In addition to ongoing armed conflict, the country was facing extraordinary and temporary conditions, including widespread food and water shortages.3When designating TPS for South Sudan, the then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary described mass displacement, lack of adequate humanitarian aid, and economic crisis.4Since the original designation, as the war and humanitarian emergency in South Sudan hasexpanded, the country has received 18-month extensions and redesignations at every decision5until themost recentSept. 2017 decision, when it received an 18-month extension without redesignation.6 Read the full letter here