Biden Signs Memorandum Giving Temporary Safe Haven to Hong Kong Residents, White House Says
13:34 GMT 05.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden has signed a memorandum that provides a temporary safe haven to the residents of Hong Kong, the White House spokesperson Jen Psaki announced on Thursday.
"Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed a memorandum directing the deferral of removal of certain Hong Kong residents who are present in the United States, giving them a temporary safe haven," the statement said.
The move demonstrates Biden’s "strong support for people in Hong Kong in the face of ongoing repression by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and makes clear we will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community," it added.
Great Britain welcomes the US decision, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement that appeared on Twitter earlier in the day.
The US State Department
also issued a statement affirming Biden’s decision to defer enforced departure for Hong Kong residents in the United States for 18 months. The State Department said the Biden administration is joining US partners and allies in offering safe haven should residents fear returning to Hong Kong after China fundamentally altered its institutions and suppressed residents’ freedoms.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Department of Homeland Security will temporarily defer removal from the United States for eligible individuals.
"Hong Kong residents in the United States whose removal has been deferred may also seek employment authorization through US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong in support of rights and freedoms," Mayorkas said.
The Biden administration has repeatedly criticized
Chinese and Hong Kong officials for systematically undermining Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, delaying elections, disqualifying elected lawmakers from office and forcing officials to take loyalty oaths to keep their jobs. China has denied the accusations and described them as outside meddling in its internal affairs.