Women’s Refugee Commission Statement on DHS’ Extension of Temporary Protected Status for Syrians & Decision Not to Extend Status for New Arrivals

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Washington, DC - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced yesterday that it would grant an 18-month extension to Syrian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in the U.S. but failed to extend TPS to the Syrians who legally traveled to the U.S. after August 1, 2016. TPS is a program designed to protect people from being returned to natural disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

DHS acknowledged the dangerous conditions in Syria that support this extension, saying in a statement yesterday, “After carefully reviewing conditions in Syria with interagency partners, Secretary Nielsen determined that the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary conditions that support Syria’s designation for TPS continue to exist.”

There are currently an estimated 5,800 Syrians living and working in the U.S. who are able to apply for the extension to renew their work protections. According to the New York Times, there is no official number available regarding the Syrians who arrived after August 1, 2016 and are unable to renew their protections. The Trump administration recently ended TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.

Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, made the following statement regarding the extension and the decision not to extend TPS to newly-arrived Syrians:

“Extending TPS for some Syrians is a positive step forward since there is no question that the lives of men, women, and children who have fled Syria would be at risk if they were forced to return. However, Secretary Nielsen’s decision not to extend TPS to newly-arrived Syrians is a complete abdication of American values and leadership in protecting the oppressed. All those who flee danger in their homelands should be eligible for protection, and we urge Congress to find a legislative solution for TPS holders that protects them from family separation and deportation.”