January 27, 2023
The Deputy Principal Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State, Vedant Patel, said at the daily briefing January 26, 2023 in Washington D.C.:
I’m pleased to highlight today’s announcement by President Biden, the decision to extend Deferred Enforced Departure for Hong Kong residents for another two years. This extension provides Hong Kongers who are concerned about returning to Hong Kong with temporary safe haven in this country. The U.S. will continue to defer the enforced departure of eligible Hong Kong residents who are physically present in the United States as of January 26th for a period of up to two years.
The U.S. reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in the face of Beijing’s steady assault on the rights and freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international agreement. This decision to extend Deferred Enforced Departure and expand to include those who have arrived in the U.S. since August 2021 complements steps being taken by our allies and partners – including the UK, Canada, and Australia – to provide options to those who fear returning to Hong Kong.
This announcement was made necessary by Beijing and Hong Kong authorities’ continued and repeated attacks on the protected rights and freedoms cherished by people in Hong Kong. We strongly urge Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to restore Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law, stop draconian application of colonial-era laws and national security apparatus, and allow people in Hong Kong to exercise rights and freedoms and participate meaningfully in their own governance.
We again call on the PRC and Hong Kong authorities to immediately and unconditionally release those detained or imprisoned solely for exercising their rights and freedoms.