Administration’s Syria TPS decision ignores State Department warning and sends mixed messages | CLINIC

Administration’s Syria TPS decision ignores State Department warning and sends mixed messages

Home » News by Type » Administration’s Syria TPS decision ignores State Department warning and sends mixed messages
Jan 31, 2018

SILVER SPRING, Maryland - Today’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security of an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status for Syria, while extending protection for some, leaves more recently arrived Syrians at risk. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her decision not to re-designate TPS for Syria, but to simply extend the program for 18 months.

Syrians with TPS are eligible to re-register through Sept. 30, 2019. Nielsen's statement said before that date, she would review whether to extend TPS again. Syrians who arrived in the United States after Aug. 1, 2016 are not eligible.
 
While the 18-month extension is what the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and other faith-based organizations sought, Nielsen’s decision not to re-designate Syria for TPS—and thereby allow recent arrivals to seek its protection—is a sharp departure from the practice of prior administrations and ignores a recent State Department warning that no part of Syria is safe.
 
“Failing to re-designate Syria for TPS is an arbitrary decision with life-or-death consequences. Syrians living in the U.S. should not be expected to return to a dangerous war zone,” said CLINIC Executive Director Jeanne Atkinson. “Even in the unlikely event that Syria’s civil war was to end tomorrow, the country’s housing, roads, medical, education and social infrastructure is in tatters. It’s inconceivable that the country is able to welcome its citizens back to any semblance of normal life.”
 
Atkinson added that there is much the U.S. government could be doing to protect Syrians, whose lives have been in chaos. CLINIC detailed the upheaval in a report: No Safety in a Warzone: Why TPS is Needed for Syria. More than 5.5 million Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring countries. Those nations, primarily Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq,are poorly equipped for long-term resettlement.
 
“The U.S. should re-designate Syria for TPS and should resume accepting refugees at previous levels,” Atkinson said. “The well-established resettlement network operated largely by Catholic and other faith-based agencies stands ready to continue helping Syrians and other refugees, if only the United States would admit them.”

Syria is the latest country to receive a decision on TPS. On Jan. 8, Nielsen announced that TPS for El Salvador would be terminated in September 2019, affecting 200,000 Salvadorans and their families, which include 173,000 U.S. citizen children.
 
The announcement follows previous decisions by the administration to end TPS for Haiti, (ending July 22, 2019) Sudan (ending Nov. 2, 2018) and Nicaragua (ending Jan. 5, 2019) and to temporarily extend the protection for South Sudan (18 months, ending in March 2019) and Honduras (six months, ending in May 2018). The status of TPS for Honduras and South Sudan could be extended or terminated after their temporary extensions.

CLINIC in the News Date: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 11:00pm