Administration’s TPS decision is unacceptable; fails to include protection for thousands of Syrians

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — The failure of the administration to redesignate Temporary Protected Status for Syria, along with the 18-month extension of TPS approved Aug. 1, is hardhearted and wrong, according to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

“It is unacceptable that this administration refuses to acknowledge that in addition to those who have TPS already, Syrians who arrived in the United States later also should be protected,” said Anna Gallagher, CLINIC’s executive director. “It is unjust and cruel that thousands of Syrians who arrived more recently to the United States are not protected.”

Redesignation, the mechanism under the law that allows the Department of Homeland Security to offer protection to people who more recently arrived from the Syrian war, was called for by faith leaders and organizations, other NGOs and members of Congress. TPS offers protection from deportation to people who were in the United States at the time of a natural disaster, political upheaval, war or other conditions that make it unsafe for them to return home.

“Syria continues to suffer under one of the world’s most extreme humanitarian crises,” Gallagher added. “Recent arrivals need the same protection as the 7,000 current Syrian TPS holders. The administration’s failure to grant maximum TPS protection for Syria is unacceptable. It’s called for under the law and by morality.”

In recent months, violence in northwestern Syria has escalated. Studies show danger continues for returnees, including imprisonment and torture. CLINIC’s recent report documents these and other factors that prevent Syrians from safely returning to the country.

Prior to the current administration, Syria as well as other countries received both 18-month extensions and redesignation at every decision point. The State Department reports that thousands of nonimmigrant visas were issued to Syrians since the last time TPS for Syria was redesignated in 2016. Some of them could have potentially applied for TPS protection had it been redesignated.

“Congress intentionally designed TPS to provide life-saving protection to people who otherwise could face death, imprisonment, or other suffering,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s attorney for policy and outreach “We urge Congress to look into the failure to redesignate, given the massive consequences.”