Temporary Protected Status for Pakistanis in the US sign now

A JOINT PETITION TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500
Re: TPS designation for Pakistan

Dear Mr. President:

The concerned organizations and citizens, listed below, write to you to draw your attention to yet another compelling humanitarian need in the context of the ongoing devastation caused by the flooding in Pakistan.

We are sure that we dont need to recount the magnitude of the destruction and human sufferings of the people of Pakistan at this most challenging time in their nation's history. The urgency with which the US stepped forward to help and the commitment it made under your leadership for the future reconstruction of Pakistan speak volumes. As a fellow human being, the pain in your voice while mentioning the plight of the Pakistani people at many forums shows your caring and compassionate attention to this catastrophe.
While the flooding has physically impacted millions in Pakistan, many millions more suffer from emotional agony and anguish abroad. Pakistanis living in the US are no exception, especially those Pakistanis who have no immigration status in the US. Not only do they feel the pain of the devastation befallen their family members, relatives, friends, neighbors, countrymen, women and children, they also face insecurity, fear deportation, and are exposed to extreme hardship for lacking the permission to travel and work in the US, at this agonizing time.

Pakistanis, who are living in the US without any legal status, need to be urgently protected on humanitarian grounds. In these most challenging times, instead of fearing deportation, facing overseas traveling restrictions, and encountering the likelihood of losing everything they saved and built to support a livelihood for themselves and their families, such Pakistanis shall be afforded legal protection, called Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is currently available under US immigration laws. By all counts, these Pakistanis are eligible for TPS and thus they should be given such temporary legal protection urgently so that they can focus on extending their financial help to the victims of the flooding in Pakistan, instead of becoming a burden on them.

It is a matter of deep concern for human rights organizations and Pakistani- Americans that Pakistan has not yet been designated for TPS status. Not long ago, when Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake, it was given a TPS country status in less than three days. The earthquake took place on January 12, 2010, and the TPS designation was announced by the Secretary of the Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano on January 15, 2010. It was a timely decision. Such a timely decision is needed once again. It is urgently needed for a catastrophe which is many folds more devastating. It is estimated that two thousand people during the last few weeks have lost their lives in Pakistan.
As you know, the US has given such protected status to citizens of many countries in the past who were unable to return to their devastated countries in various catastrophic situations for a variety of reasons. Presently, nationals of Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan are beneficiaries of the relief provided under TPS. It is important to know that no new legislation is needed to designate Pakistan for the benefits under TPS. The law pertaining to such relief already exists.

Pakistan needs such designation. Over a million homes have perished and approximately 20 million people have been displaced. According to the UN estimates, an area over 160,000 square kilometers has been deeply affected as a result of the flooding, more than the combined area affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

In the words of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during his emergency trip to affected areas "This has been a heart-wrenching day for me. I will never forget the destruction and suffering I have witnessed today. In the past I have witnessed many natural disasters around the world, but nothing like this." The United Nations has recently estimated that millions of Pakistanis are at risk of deadly waterborne diseases. The World Health Organization says around six million peopleover half of them childrenface the threat of cholera and dysentery, as well as typhoid and hepatitis.
In addition to unprecedented human sufferings, the Pakistani economy has been debilitated by the far-reaching damage. What does this devastation mean for Pakistan? According to a preliminary estimate, structural damages are estimated to exceed 4 billion USD, and wheat crop damages are estimated to be over 500 million USD. Officials estimate the total economic impact to be as much as 43 billion USD. More than 1,400,000 acres of cropland in Punjab and Sind has been completely destroyed, including the destruction of 700,000 acres of cotton, 500,000 acres of rice and cane, 500,000 tons of wheat and 300,000 acres of animal fodder.

The impact on the Pakistani textile industry is horrendous as the flooding has already destroyed 2 .5 million bales of cotton. The devastation does not end here. The blow to the power infrastructure of Pakistan is equally severe, resulting in extensive damage to 12,000 transmission lines, transformers, feeders and power houses in different flood hit areas, according to a latest report. Another major public safety concern emerge from the fact that a large number of unexploded mines and artillery shells have been flushed down stream by the floods from areas in Kashmir and Waziristan and scattered in low lying areas, posing a future risk to returning residents, as reported by International Red Cross. Threats to public health are a nightmarish scenario. The danger of wide spread epidemics and outbreaks of diseases, such as gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and skin diseases is real due to lack of clean drinking water and sanitation. All this just seems to skim the tip of the iceberg.

As you well know, in 1990, US Congress established a procedure by which the Attorney General may provide TPS to immigrants in the United States who are temporarily unable to safely return to their home country due to armed conflicts, environment disasters, or other extraordinary humanitarian situations. The procedure was created under the Immigration Act of 1990. But on March 1, 2003, the authority to designate a country for TPS was transferred from the Attorney General to the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS after consultations with the Secretary of State due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country's nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.

Pursuant to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, during a designated period, eligible individuals cannot be deported from the United States. Nor can they be arrested and detained for immigration violations by the Department of Homeland Security. Furthermore, under the Act, eligible individuals can obtain a work permit and may apply for travel authorization. The legal relief of such nature, even though temporary, can be of tremendous help to people in distress. This is exactly what Pakistanis without legal status need in the US.

Therefore, it is respectfully requested that Pakistan be urgently designated a TPS country. It will pave the way for undocumented Pakistanis in the United States to come out from under the crushing burden of being lost in social and economic oblivion. Such country designation will further assist them to get mobilized to help their families and friends in Pakistan, pay their taxes in the US, and get themselves registered with USCIS. Kindly note that the request made in the letter at hand is fully supported by a broad range of political, civic, human rights, professional, and civil society organization, both in the US and Pakistan.

Respectfully submitted by concerned organizations and individuals:

Drafted and Presented by:

Saleem S. Rizvi
Attorney at Law
225 Broadway, 40th Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 732-4336
Facsimile :( 212) 267-9323
Email: [email protected]

Chief Organizer,
*Pakistani-American Center for Law & Justice Center (PacLaj)* (in organizational process)
(Defending the undefended and empowering the powerless through the rule of law and justice")

Chairperson,
1) TPS Attorneys Support Committee (TASC)
TASC is a group of attorneys, organized with a limited and focused mandate to arrange and articulate public advocacy and awareness activities around the TPS initiatives for undocumented Pakistanis in the US and the TPS country designation for Pakistan.

2) Pakistan TPS Action Committee(PTAC)
(a 26 member committee, representing a wide range of political, civic and human rights organizations)

Endorsing Attorneys: Imtiaz Syed, Esq., Shakeel Kazmi, Esq., Inyat Sheikh, Esq., Lutafullah Sheikh Esq., Zouhoor Wani, Esq., Saba Hussain, Esq., Osama Siddique, Esq., Najia S. Khalid, Esq., Mumtaz Alvi,Esq., Rana Sajjad, Esq., Maryam Arif, Esq., Hamel Vyas, Esq., Saleem M. Safdar, Esq., Alisha Mohammed, Esq., Asma Chaudhry,Esq.

cc:
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20528

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  • 31 July 2015185. Kainat C
    MR President please grant tps to Pakistanis as other nation as we need it very much for our whole nation
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    this would help so many distressed families
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  • 06 June 2015178. Shafeeq R
    i think every pakistani desarve TPS status
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    Thank you for your support for this!
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Gilbert NunezBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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