Over 90,000 Syrians have died since the they started demonstrating for democracy in March 2011. The situation increasingly gets worse as the conflict goes on. Every week 50,000 Syrians flee their homes to neighboring countries to escape the escalating violence and destruction that is making their homes too dangerous to live in. There are more than a million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and Jordan, and more than 3.6 million displaced Syrians are living inside thier country without a permanent home. These numbers represent the growing instability and tragedy of Syria today.
Syrian immigrants were granted Temporary Protective Status (TPS) by Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, last year, but their TPS expires this September. If the TPS is not renewed, Syrian immigrants living and working in the United States in peace, will have to return to Syrian where they could be subjected to torture or murder due to the escalating violence targeting Syrians supporting democracy.
We feel that it is our responsibility as Americans to protect our Syrian immigrant neighbors that currently live and work amongst us. By renewing TPS, we can ensure that Syrian nationals are not sent back into harms way, and it would allow them to remain in the US for a limited time period until the violence ends. TPS would only be granted to Syrian immigrants already in the US that are legally allowed to work and reside in the country.
Join us in telling DHS Secretary Napolitano to help protect Syrian immigrants in the US and extend TPS status for them until the violence ends.
- Department of Homeland Security
The Honorable Secretary Janet Napolitano
United States Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Re: Request for Extension and Redesignation of TPS for Syria
Dear Secretary Napolitano,
We fully support the request for extension of the existing designation and the re-designation of Syria for Temporary Protective Status filed by Coalition for a Democratic Syria, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, United for a Free Syria, Syrian American Council, Syrian Expatriates Organization, Syrian American Alliance, Syrian Emergency Task Force, Syrian Americans for Democracy, Syrian Christians for Democracy, Association for Free Syrians, and National Alliance for Syria and the Network of Arab American Professionals (NAAP). We request that you extend the existing designation and re-designate Syria for Temporary Protective Status (“TPS”) in accordance with your authority to do so as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) pursuant to 8 U.S.C § 1254a.
We commend the decision of DHS to grant TPS to Syrian nationals in March of last year. That decision, and the diligence with which you made it, reflects your awareness of the severity of the situation in Syria and conveys the commitment of DHS and the United States to human dignity and universal respect for human rights. While the decision is much appreciated, its parameters have been confined by the deterioration of the situation on the ground and the practical difficulties faced by Syrians as time has elapsed. Unfortunately, over the past year, the situation in Syria has grown exponentially worse with the humanitarian crisis permeating every inch of the country. With over 80,000 killed, 1.2 million refugees, 3.6 million internally displaced persons in Syria, and hundreds of more civilians dying each day, Syrian nationals still cannot return to Syria in safety. It continues not to be contrary to U.S. national interests to permit Syrian nationals who meet the eligibility requirements of TPS to remain in the U.S. temporarily.
While we understand the United States is not solely responsible for providing a safe haven for those affected by these types of crises, at its core, it is a melting pot of cultures that was itself created by people seeking a fairer society and to begin a new society governed by rule of law. Again, we commend you Secretary Napolitano and the entire Department of Homeland Security for your unwavering commitment to providing aid to those fleeing from the state of crisis that has plagued Syria for over two years, and we hope that you will continue to show that dedication by granting this request and helping more Syrian nationals, who are in dire need of assistance, to escape the turmoil in their country and find temporary safety with their friends and families in the United States.
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