FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2012
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Praises Obama Administration Decision
To Guarantee Syrians Temporary Protected Status
(Washington, D.C.) – The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) today praised the announcement by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to allow Syrian nationals in the United States to stay beyond their visas and avoid the risk of returning to their violence-torn country. On Friday, Napolitano said in a statement that, in light of deteriorating conditions in Syria, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will designate temporary protected status (TPS) for Syrians currently in the United States. USCRI first called for a TPS designation for Syrians over one year ago when the violence erupted.
"We strongly applaud the decision by President Obama and DHS to offer the crucial protection of temporary protected status to the Syrian citizens now in our country,” said Lavinia Limon, President and CEO of USCRI. “It is far too dangerous for them to return home at this time. On behalf of all the Syrian nationals who asked for our help, and the other human rights advocates who spoke up, we are grateful for this compassionate decision.”
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates that 2,500 to 3,000 individuals mostly on student or work visas in the U.S. will be affected by the designation. DHS shortly will publish a notice in the Federal Register offering guidance about TPS eligibility requirements and registration procedures.
USCRI remains concerned about the people being displaced in Syria and in neighboring countries. The lack of access to humanitarian assistance inside Syria is a major challenge, and USCRI urges the U.S. government and the international community to continue to work to address this. USCRI also is calling attention to the needs of Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, and hopes to see an open border policy and greater efforts to provide assistance and access to services.
TPS is a temporary immigration status which allows foreign nationals who meet all registration requirements to live, work, and study in the United States during the period of designation. It does not lead to permanent residency. TPS may be granted in situations where there are extraordinary and temporary conditions, such as war or natural disaster, in the home country that prevent nationals from returning safely.
USCRI has been protecting refugees, serving immigrants and upholding freedom since 1911.