Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes TPS Extension for Syrians, Seeks Stay of Deportations to Active War Zone

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/1/18) — The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision yesterday to extend for 18 months the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of some 7,000 Syrians living inside the United States,

However, CAIR urged a formal stay on deportations to Syria, and active war zone, and expressed concern that the program was not redesignated and now remains closed to Syrians living, working and going to school in the United States since August 2016.

Yesterday, DHS Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced her decision to extend the TPS designation for Syria for 18 months through Sept. 30, 2019

She also announced that: “Anyone who has been here since the time of the previous [TPS] designation may be eligible to seek other forms of immigration relief.”

“Based on the State Department advisory urging Americans not travel to Syria due to the possible threat of terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict, the Trump administration must recognize that Syrians living in the United States deserve the same consideration for their personal safety, and should not be deported,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert McCaw.

McCaw noted while campaigning for office President Trump often demonized Syrian refugees – falsely equating them as representing ”˜a great Trojan horse’ and posing a terror threat.

CAIR is urging all Syrian nationals inside the U.S. to consult with an immigration attorney immediately to determine whether they qualify for other forms of immigration relief.

On January 11, CAIR urged the DHS to redesignate TPS for Syrians and Yemenis living in United States. 

CAIR questioned why DHS would not redesignate TPS, a move that would open the program to Syrians who have arrived in the U.S. since 2016. 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.

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.”

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 mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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