Author: Nkechi Ilechie       4/3/2024     Nigerian Center

Contact :
Nkechi Ilechie,
Policy Director, Nigerian Center.
WASHINGTON, DC – April 3, 2024 Over 50 local, state, and national organizations, spearheaded by the Nigerian Center in Washington, D.C., are urgently urging Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to grant immediate designation of Special Student Relief (SSR) for Nigerian students. This designation is crucial as Nigeria currently grapples with one of its most severe economic downturns in recent memory, ignited by soaring inflation rates exacerbated by monetary measures, resulting in a historic decline in the value of the national currency, the naira. As of April 1, 2024, the exchange rate stands at 1,304 to $1. Such currency fluctuations can significantly escalate the cost of education, rendering it challenging for students and their families to afford these expenses.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) possesses the authority to suspend certain regulatory requirements for F-1 students and issue Special Student Relief (SSR) benefits under emergent circumstances such as natural disasters, armed conflict, and financial crises. F-1 students from countries undergoing such conditions encounter substantial economic hardship. SSR permits students directly impacted by the crises to apply for employment authorization to work off-campus, exempt them from regular student employment requirements, and enable them to reduce their course loads if necessary.
Individuals seeking immigration assistance are encouraged to reach out to the Nigerian Center online or via phone at 202-330-0352.
“Nigeria, as one of Africa’s most populous nations and a significant contributor to global academic endeavors, faces economic turmoil jeopardizing the educational aspirations of its youth. The plea for SSR designation underscores the urgent need for compassionate and pragmatic measures to support Nigeria,” stated Nkechi Ilechie, Policy Director, Nigerian Center.
“During the recent visit to Nigeria, Secretary Antony Blinken reiterated the United States’ commitment to Nigeria across various sectors, including economic, military assistance, and cultural exchanges. SSR presents an opportunity to actualize these commitments as it directly impacts Nigerian citizens studying and preparing for global leadership opportunities that strengthen US-Nigeria ties,” remarked Gbenga Ogunjimi, Executive Director, Nigerian Center.
Letter signatories : African Communities Together (ACT) African Immigration Initiative Al Otro Lado American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC Asian Children’s Educational Fellowship Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Chacón Center for Immigrant Justice Church Women United in New York State Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) Communities United for Status & Protection (CUSP) Delaware Africa Coalition Deported Asylum Seekers Assistance Project DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving Estrella del Paso (Formerly DMRS) FAITH IN TEXAS Global African Business Association (GABA) Global Vision Foundation, inc Haitian Bridge Alliance Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project International Institute of New England Justice Action Center Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention NAPAC USA National Employment Law Project.
National Partnership for New Americans Nigerian American Lawyers Association (NALA) Nigerian Center Nigerian Economic Summit Group Omo Yoruba Association, Inc Poder Latinx RCCG – Jesus House, DC Rebirth Hub Africa Red Eagle Enterprises Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Strangers No Longer (Michigan) The Campaign for Hong Kong The Coalition of African & Caribbean Communities-Philadelphia (AFRICOM) The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights True Alliance Center Inc. Page | 4 UndocuBlack Network United African Organization United Nigerian Americans council-md Wilco Justice Alliance Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center Women Advancing Nutrition Dietetics and Agriculture Yoruba Unite of North Carolina Zumunta Association USA Inc
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