In light of the immigration problem facing the United States at the southern border, President Biden has extended the Deferred Enforced Departure program, which protects Hong Kong residents in the United States from deportation, less than two weeks before it expires.
This program has been extended for another two years, until January 26, 2025, allowing Hong Kong citizens who have overstayed their visas to continue living in the United States without fearing deportation.
This extension, the National Security Council said in a statement, shows President Biden’s firm support for the citizens of Hong Kong amid rising repression by the People’s Republic of China and that the United States will proceed to strongly condemn the P.R.C.’s utilization of its National Security Law to refuse the people of Hong Kong one’s fundamental rights and freedoms, undermine Hong Kong’s independence, and chip away at Hong Kong’s remaining democratic proclivities.
The Deferred Enforced Departure extension was created to provide eligible Hong Kong residents apprehensive about returning to Hong Kong temporary safe haven in the United States.
D.E.D. recipients who wish to work in the United States during their extended stay can apply for employment authorization.
Biden can extend the D.E.D. at his discretion, per U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Biden first postponed the deportation of Hong Kong residents for 18 months on August 5, 2021. The United States, Biden added in a statement, will pursue its international objectives, which include protecting and promoting democracy and human rights worldwide, in a way that is consistent with its democratic ideals.
During that time, President Biden stated that American policy aimed to shield Hong Kong citizens from China’s implementation of the National Security Law.
Concerns over a severe restriction of rights and liberties in Hong Kong prompted the Biden administration to grant the initial deportation reprieve in August 2021.
In 2019, protests in Hong Kong against a planned law enabling extraditions to mainland China prompted the Chinese authorities to seek to suppress opposition. With the passage of the national security law in June 2020, the police began a crackdown on protesters, activists, and politicians who were against the government.
The number of directly elected lawmakers was cut, and an election committee with solid ties to Beijing was given the authority to designate lawmakers who would support Beijing’s policies.
In a statement made by China’s ambassador to the United States, Liu Pengyu called on the United States to stop intervening in Hong Kong’s affairs. Saying this decision further exposed the United States insidious goal to undermine stability in Hong Kong and contain China’s development.
Since China enacted its National Security Law, the White House has estimated that at least 150 opposition politicians, activists, and protesters have been detained on politically motivated charges.
These charges include secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and cooperation with a foreign country or external elements.
Furthermore, the White House reported that over 10,000 people had been imprisoned on various offenses in connection with the anti-government protests, with 1,200 of them being political prisoners.