We encourage the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and the Attorney General of the United States to support Zimbabwean nationals living in the United States with temporary relief from the threat of deportation through authorization of Temporary Protected Status under the Immigration and Nationality Act 244.1 [8 U.S.C. 1254].


The TPS program was established to provide protection to people who are temporarily unable to return to their homelands. TPS will permit Zimbabweans presently in the United States to remain in the country and qualify for work authorization and provide these nationals with the dignity of living in the United States under a legal status. TPS will also allow Zimbabweans living in the United States to actively participate in the movement that demands positive change in Zimbabwe. Ironically, many Zimbabwean nationals came to the U.S. so that they could actively speak out against a regime where they were silenced through fear of torture, arrest and physical harm. Now such nationals live in the United States silenced by the fear of detainment and deportation. Legal status will ensure that these Zimbabweans can freely campaign against the human rights violations and inhumane policies proliferated by the current political regime. Finally, eighteen months of protection under TPS will assure the safety of Zimbabweans currently living in the U.S. while Zimbabwe recovers from the worst stages of the current crisis. Following the initiation of recovery and a step towards political and social stability, Zimbabweans currently living abroad will be able to safely return home and will embrace the chance to finally contribute to the reconstruction of their shattered yet resilient Zimbabwe.

Sec.244. 1 [8 U.S.C. 1254] permits the Attorney General to grant TPS, according to section 1 (c) after “consultation with appropriate agencies of the Government, may designate any foreign state (or any part of such foreign state) under this subsection” so long as it meets the criteria.

(A) the Attorney General finds that there is an ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of that state to that state (or to the part of the state) would pose a serious threat to their personal safety; 
(B) the Attorney General finds that- 
(i) there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster in the state resulting in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in the area affected, 
(ii) the foreign state is unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return to the state of aliens who are nationals of the state, and 
(iii) the foreign state officially has requested designation under this subparagraph; or 
(C) the Attorney General finds that there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting the aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the national interest of the United States. 

The crisis in Zimbabwe is an “extraordinary and temporary” condition that has resulted from inhumane and malicious policy instituted by the Zimbabwean government, most recently and egregiously Operation Restore Order (or in Shona, “operation drive out the filth”) in which 2.4 million of Zimbabwe’s approximately 10 million people were adversely affected. As a result, the case for granting Zimbabwe TPS falls within the third criteria of the statute. The third criterion for TPS was created to enable the Attorney General to grant relief through TPS for a wide range of crises that fall within the designation of “extraordinary and temporary conditions”.

There is clear and undeniable evidence that “extraordinary and temporary conditions” exist in Zimbabwe that prevent Zimbabweans living in the United States from returning safely. Permitting Zimbabwean nationals to remain in the United States throughout the duration of recovery from the humanitarian crisis that has ripped through Zimbabwe, accords to the national interests of the United States. Placing a temporary halt to all deportations of Zimbabwean is in line with the history of U.S. policy towards Zimbabwe. It embodies a practical action reflecting the current U.S. administrations outspoken critical stance on Zimbabwe. Most importantly, such an action would align the U.S. with its regional allies, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada who have all responded to the outcries of the Zimbabwean and international community in freezing deportations of Zimbabweans from their countries.

The Bush administration has clearly articulated the strategic importance of the southern African region and clearly sees Zimbabwe as the primary risk factor in the region. The current administration’s stance on Zimbabwe is vehemently critical. Outward disdain for policies instituted by the Zimbabwean government have been made by many high level persons of the current administration and have been loudly echoed by affiliates of former administrations.

President George W. Bush in an executive order released on March 6, 2003 from the White House, stated that it had been:

“ determined that the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”

President Bush has also accused Zimbabwean’s President Robert Mugabe of “destroying” his own country. The American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, described Zimbabwe amongst other nations as an “outpost of tyranny” during her confirmation hearing earlier this year. Her remark is an echo of President Bush’s position on Zimbabwe and demonstrates a strongly critical rhetoric of the current regime in Zimbabwe.

The United Nations in a report released on July 22, 2005 takes a fervently critical stance of the policy “Restore Order” in Zimbabwe and has suggested that the actions propelled under this policy may qualify as a crime against humanity. Likewise the undersigned Special Procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights have expressed their “deep concern” about the recent mass forced evictions and related human rights violations.

In 2003, Colin Powell said "if leaders on the continent do not do more to convince President Mugabe to respect the rule of law and enter into a dialogue with the political opposition, he and his cronies will drag Zimbabwe down until there is nothing left to ruin.” [1] Unfortunately, Powell’s predictions may have materialized under the forced mass evictions. For the Zimbabwean people, the time has come to bridge political rhetoric with reality and to provide practical solutions and relief for Zimbabweans. Granting Zimbabweans blanket relief from the threat of deportation under TPS would be one such practical solution.

We urge your support in the struggle to restore freedom and human rights to Zimbabwe. Please sign the petition in favor of TPS for Zimbabwe now.