SAALT strongly supports the Pakistani Temporary Protected Status Act of 2011 (H.R. 285). This bill is vital for safety and security of Pakistani nationals currently in the United States who are unable to return to their home country due to the devastation caused by the floods in 2010.
During July 2010, Pakistan was severely affected by monsoon rains in various regions in the country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan. The floods that followed demolished much of the country’s infrastructure; created life-threatening situations for millions of residents; and resulted in a death toll of nearly 2,000 in the country. The Pakistani Government has reported that over 12 million individuals have required humanitarian assistance, including nearly 6 million individuals who could not obtain basic necessities for survival, such as food, shelter, and water. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, following the floods, an estimated 10 million individuals had no choice but to drink unsafe water and outbreaks of various diseases occurred, including cholera, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and malaria. In addition, core infrastructure was severely impacted by the deluge, including the loss of homes, businesses, farmland, roads, bridges, hospitals, and power plants.
Due to this devastation, relief for Pakistani nationals who are currently in the United States and cannot return to their home country is much needed. Temporary protected status (TPS) would allow those Pakistani nationals unable to return to temporarily remain in the United States. The Pakistani Temporary Protected Status Act of 2011, introduced by Congressman Al Green, would treat Pakistan as a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act for 12 months after enactment; and certain nationals of Pakistan would be eligible for such immigration relief. SAALT strongly supports this vital piece of legislation, which would help to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani nationals residing in the United States and complement ongoing humanitarian and relief efforts in the region.