Despite Extension from Trump Administration, Syrian TPS Holders Continue to Live in Limbo
AFSC says now Congress must act
WASHINGTON, DC (January 31, 2018) Today the Trump administration announced it would extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians living in the U.S. TPS is a provision under which the government grants protection from deportation to people from certain countries afflicted by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost 100 years – applauded the extension, but spoke out against the decision to not admit new Syrians.
“The U.S. continues to contribute to the war in Syria through the provision of weapons and direct military actions, said Michael Merryman-Lotze, a Program Director for AFSC. “The decision to extend TPS status for Syrian refugees is welcome and important, but more needs to be done by the U.S. to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. It is cruel and inhumane to block more Syrians from entering the program.”
Syria remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters and the most significant refugee crisis of this time. Since 2011 more than six million Syrians have fled their homes and are now living as refugees outside of the country. In Jordan, AFSC is one of many organizations providing direct assistance to the more than 600,000 recognized refugees living in that country.
“TPS recipients are integral parts of our communities,” said Kristin Kumpf, who serves as Director of Human Migration and Mobility at AFSC. “While we are glad that TPS has been extended for people from Syria, we’ve been disturbed that TPS was terminated for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. We need policies that keep our communities together rather than tearing them apart.”
There are around 6000 Syrians with TPS in the U.S. AFSC and others across the country have been working hard to try and save TPS – bringing TPS holders to Washington, DC to meet with elected officials, organizing call-in days, and holding local events.
In addition to asking the Department of Homeland Security to extend TPS for all countries, AFSC is calling on Congress to take action. “TPS was the result of massive organizing and education efforts by immigrants and allies across the country,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Impact Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. “We are now calling on Congress to enact a permanent solution that creates a swift roadmap to Lawful Permanent Residency and citizenship for all TPS recipients and the millions of other immigrants in the U.S.”
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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.