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crisis in yemen

It would be 'beyond heartless' to end protected status for Yemenis, experts tell Trump administration

A group of 33 former national security officials and 60 advocacy groups sent letters to President Trump's administration urging for an extension of Yemen's temporary protected status, The Hill reported Tuesday.

Amid Yemen's ongoing civil war, which the United Nations says has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, protected status for Yemenis in the U.S. is set to expire. Protected status allows people to temporarily live and work in the U.S. while their home countries are affected by violence or natural disasters. Trump has ended TPS for citizens of Nepal, Haiti, El Salvador, Sudan, and Nicaragua, and has until July 5 to decide whether to end it for Yemen as well.

National security experts like the former ambassador to the U.N., former deputy secretary of state, and former ambassadors to Yemen said that the Trump administration's foreign policy efforts would be damaged if the estimated 1,200 Yemenis in the U.S. were forced to return. The experts argued that increasing instability and humanitarian needs in Yemen could "bolster the propaganda efforts" of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which would undermine U.S. objectives in the region.

"It would be beyond heartless and cruel" to end TPS for Yemenis, the advocacy groups wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, pointing out that "our own government has defined [Yemen] as one of the most dangerous and dire places on the planet." The U.N. estimates that the civil war has killed about 6,385 civilians, and the organization has expressed fear that conditions could soon worsen for millions more.

Read more about the letters at The Hill, and more about Yemen here at The Week.