Biden blocked the deportation of most Hong Kong residents from the US for 18 months, citing the repression by China
United States President Joe Biden delivers a speech in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on July 29, 2021.
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President Joe Biden signed an order Wednesday blocking the forced deportation of many Hong Kong residents from the United States for 18 months, giving them a "temporary safe haven" from ongoing Chinese repression in the region, the White House said.
The order allows Hong Kong residents whose U.S. visas have expired and who are otherwise legally removable to remain in the United States.
Biden on Wednesday also directed the Department of Homeland Security to legally work in the United States for Hong Kong residents subject to the order.
"With the politically motivated arrests and trials, the media silence and the shrinking space for elections and democratic opposition, we will continue to take steps to support the people of Hong Kong," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a written statement.
The order imposing memorandum signed by Biden also states that China has undermined "the enjoyment of rights and freedoms" in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, including those protected by the so-called Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Since June 2020, when China unilaterally imposed its national security law on Hong Kong, police in the semi-autonomous region have detained at least 100 opposition politicians, activists and protesters on charges under the law, the memo said.
In addition, police arrested more than 10,000 people in connection with protests against the government.
China's action came in response to the anti-government protests that began in Hong Kong in 2019.
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"There are compelling foreign policy reasons to postpone the forced exit of Hong Kong residents currently in the United States," the memo said.
"The United States is committed to a foreign policy that combines our democratic values with our foreign policy goals that focus on defending democracy and promoting human rights around the world," the memo read.
“Offering a safe haven to Hong Kong residents who have been deprived of their guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong is promoting United States interests in the region.
Biden's order applies to Hong Kong residents currently in the United States, with certain exceptions.
These exceptions include people who cannot be admitted or deported under US immigration law, people convicted of a crime or misdemeanors in the USA, and people whose presence is deemed not to be in the interest of the USA.