The presidential memorandum, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, directs “the deferral of removal of certain Hong Kong residents who are present in the United States, giving them a temporary safe haven.”
Biden’s memorandum directed that the deferral, effective Thursday, will defer removal for the next 18 months.
Thursday’s action, Psaki said, “demonstrates President 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.”
She continued, “Given the politically motivated arrests and trials, the silencing of the media, and the diminishing the space for elections and democratic opposition, we will continue to take steps in support of people in Hong Kong.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the deferral sends “a clear message that the United States resolutely stands with people in Hong Kong.
“In the face of PRC and Hong Kong authorities’ attempts to stifle democratic aspirations, we will take action,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to stand up for the human rights and freedoms guaranteed to people in Hong Kong by the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.”