(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/29/2021)— The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed President Biden’s 18-month extension and re-designation the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Syrians living inside the United States.
There are some 7,000 Syrians living inside the United States with TPS status. Under certain circumstances, some of these individuals could face deportation to an active war zone if they fail to qualify for other forms of immigration relief – compromising their personal safety. The new extension allows eligible Syrian nationals to retain their TPS until September of 2022. Moreover, under the re-designation, some 1,800 additional individuals are provided the new opportunity to file initial applications for TPS status.
According to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary David Pkoske’s announcement today, “Syrian nationals who entered the United States after August 1, 2016 and are otherwise eligible may register as well. DHA will publish a notice in the Federal Register with instructions for re-registration and employment authorization.”
“CAIR is urging all Syrian nationals inside the United States to consult with an immigration attorney immediately to determine whether they qualify for TPS or other forms of immigration relief,” said CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw
CAIR has previously urged the DHS to adopt a formal stay on deportations to Syria, an active war zone, expressing concern that the program at the time was not redesignated and remained closed to Syrians living, working and going to school in the United States since August 2016.
Last February, CAIR co-hosted a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to bring attention to the Syrian humanitarian crisis in Idlib and urge for increased pressure on Russia and the Syrian regime to stop the bombings and the displacement of Syrian civilians.
As of January 10, 2018, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued a travel advisory warning American citizens “Do not travel” to Syria, as “No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment have significantly raised the risk of death or serious injury.”
The DHS listed the conditions preventing Syrian nationals from safely returning as a result of the ongoing civil war:
- Deliberate targeting of civilians
- Use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics
- Use of child soldiers
- Sustained need for humanitarian assistance
- Increase in refugees and displaced people
- Food insecurity, limited access to water and medical care
- Large-scale destruction of Syria’s infrastructure
TPS is the humanitarian relief program that has permitted Syrians to live and work in the U.S. since the 2013 outbreak of armed conflicts and civil unrest in that country. TPS is not a pathway to citizenship but a temporary humanitarian program created by Congress in 1990, to suspend deporting nationals with expired visas to countries that have been devastated by war or catastrophe.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.