In the latest reaction to the ongoing coup in Myanmar, the Joe Biden administration has decided to offer temporary legal status to Burmese people living in the US.
"Due to the military coup and security forces' brutal violence against civilians, the people of Burma (Myanmar) are suffering a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country," said Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas in a release.
The decision to designate Myanmar for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was taken after consultation with interagency partners and in consideration of the extraordinary conditions in the country followed by the military coup last month.
The development has led to continuing violence, arbitrary detentions and use of lethal force against peaceful protesters, and intimidation of the people of Burma. Considering these factors, the Biden administration has decided to extend the legal status to the people of Myanmar who arrived in the US by March 11.
"After a thorough review of this dire situation, I have designated Burma for Temporary Protected Status so that Burmese nationals and habitual residents may remain temporarily in the United States," Mayorkas added.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is offered to those who have left their home amid unrest or disasters in their country. The designation allows people from Myanmar to remain in the US for another 18 months. The government estimates least 1,600 people may be eligible to apply for the status.
The decision to provide a safe haven for the people of Myanmar in the US comes amid growing international alarm over increasing violence in the country after its military toppled the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
The Biden administration imposed sanctions on nearly a dozen officials associated with the coup and three entities associated with the military. The Myanmar military has launched a massive crackdown on anti-coup protesters, shutting down the internet and arresting hundreds of people, including PM Suu Kyi, and the figurehead president.
Violence against protesters has led to the death of more than 60 Burmese locals and the arrest of 1,800 protestors.
(With inputs from ANI)