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Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Bill to extend temporary protective status for individuals affected by West African Ebola epidemic introduced in House

A bill that would extend temporary protective status (TPS) for a period of eighteen months to individuals from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea as their home nations continue to recover from the West African Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016 was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, titled the West African Ebola Relief Act, was introduced by U.S. Reps. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY).

The legislation was introduced just days after individuals previously under protective status had their status terminated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“As Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone continue to recover from the Ebola epidemic, they are not yet in a position to receive those foreign nationals currently in the United States,” Payne, Jr. said. “Allowing nationals from Ebola-affected countries to temporarily remain in the United States will not only ease the burdens on West African nations as they rebuild, it will protect those nationals from the unstable conditions that persist in their home countries.”

Payne, Jr. said that TPS was a humane and necessary measure in the aftermath the Ebola crisis and that DHS’s refusal to extend it was irresponsible.

Most recently, an Ebola outbreak was declared by the World Health Organization in the central African nation, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Since the first case appeared on April 22, four people have died from a total of 11 suspected cases. The most recent cases are the ninth such outbreak of the virus in the DRC since 1976