Coalition of 500+ College and University Leaders Applaud Biden Administration for Announcing Temporary Protected Status for Afghanistan


March 16, 2022
Contact: Jose Magaña-Salgado (

Washington, DC—The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and its coalition of 500+ member Presidents and Chancellors applaud the Biden administration’s decision to announce Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Afghanistan. TPS provides lifesaving humanitarian protection to nationals of countries that are temporarily too dangerous for return. TPS protects individuals from deportation and provides permission to work in the United States. The status also opens the door for additional higher education opportunities, including scholarships and in-state tuition in certain states. We urge the administration to continue a robust review of countries in need of designation and provide needed protection without hesitation. While we applaud the designation for TPS, we also strongly urge the simultaneous announcement of Special Student Relief (SSR) for Afghan F-1 and J-1 students and scholars in the United States. And we call for TPS and Special Student Relief for all international students impacted by war and extraordinary crises in their home countries, including but not limited to Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mauritania, and the Northern Triangle countries. 

TPS and SSR are components of a suite of needed protections for Afghan students, scholars, researchers, and their families. The Presidents’ Alliance also calls on the administration and Congress to continue efforts to provide lasting relief and stability to Afghans who have sought refuge in the United States. The top Congressional priority is to pass an Afghan Adjustment Act with provisions that permit others who came legally to the United States on temporary student or scholar visas to adjust status, and the top administrative priority is to create a Designated Parole Program.  

Miriam Feldblum, Executive Director of the Presidents’ Alliance, stated: “We commend President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas in response to today’s announcement that the administration will designate Afghanistan for TPS. TPS is a lifesaving immigration protection that ensures that our Afghan neighbors and allies won’t be sent back to a country where their freedoms, lives, and movement will be substantially at risk. We also urge the administration to immediately issue Special Student Relief (SSR) for F-1 and J-1 visa holders. TPS and SSR are particularly critical to the Afghan students, scholars, academics, and professors in the United States whose contributions to higher education enrich our campuses and bring tremendous perspective to our nation’s educational landscape. We strongly encourage the administration to consider announcing SSR for other countries where students are being impacted by war and other emergent situations, along with additional countries for TPS, and utilize its executive authority to its fullest potential. These include many countries experiencing crises, including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mauritania, and the Northern Triangle.”


The nonpartisan, nonprofit Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration brings college and university presidents and chancellors together on the immigration issues that impact higher education, our students, campuses, communities and nation. We work to advance just, forward-looking immigration policies and practices at the federal, state, and campus levels that are consistent with our heritage as a nation of immigrants and the academic values of equity and openness. The Alliance is composed of over 500 presidents and chancellors of public and private colleges and universities, enrolling over five million students in 43 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.