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    US extends protected status for almost 1,300 Yemenis

    Some 1,250 Yemenis were granted a reprieve from possible expulsion back to their war-torn country Thursday when the US government extended their temporary protected status.
    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the Yemenis, who had been permitted to remain in the United States past the expiration of their visas due to the war in the Arabian Peninsula country, would be able to stay at least another 18 months, through March 3, 2020.
    “Secretary Nielsen determined that the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Yemen’s current designation for TPS continue to exist,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
    Amid a general crackdown on illegal immigration, the Trump administration has been reviewing all TPS programs, mostly created for foreigners stranded in the United States due to natural disasters or wars back home.
    In the past 18 months DHS has announced the termination of TPS programs covering hundreds of thousands of people from Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, Nepal, and El Salvador.
    Many had stayed in the US for years, raising families, until DHS ruled in separate decisions since last year that conditions back in their home countries had improved enough to no longer justify them remaining in the US.
    In Yemen, however, the US-supported Gulf Arab coalition’s war on the Yemen Houthi group, which has Iranian support, has devastated much of the country, leaving millions hungry and vulnerable to disease.
    On Thursday the US State Department renewed its warning to Americans not to travel to Yemen, citing the ongoing war and constant threat of attacks by “terrorist groups.”
    “Military conflict has caused significant destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities,” the State Department said.
    “This instability often hampers the ability of humanitarian organizations to deliver critically needed food, medicine, and water.

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