Thousands of Syrian Nationals Apply for Temporary Protected Status
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, October 19, 2012, 05:02 PM EDT
As of October 13, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received 2,614 applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Syrian nationals in the U.S. On March 23, 2012, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano approved the status for Syrian Nationals already residing within the U.S. In the registration period that lasted from March 29, 2012, to September 25, 2012, USCIS has so far granted 273, only denying five applicants.
On December 19, 2011, AAI sent a letter to President Obama asking for TPS to be granted to Syrians living in the U.S. Our effort was later joined by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), United for Free Syria (UFS) and the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF).
Then, in a letter dated March 1, 2012, U.S. Senators Durbin (IL), Leahy (VT), Feinstein (CA), Menendez (NJ), Cardin (MD) and Casey (PA) offered their support to granting TPS to Syrian nationals at the time it was under review. The letter read in part:
“Syria clearly meets the standard for TPS as it is obviously too dangerous for Syrian nationals residing in the U.S. to return to Syria…Forcing Syrian nationals to return to Syria in the midst of ongoing violence would undermine U.S. leadership and would be inconsistent with America’s traditional role as a safe haven for those fleeing repression.”
DHS approved TPS for Syrian nationals on March 23, 2012.
As the violence in Syria has continued to escalate, TPS remains important to those who have already applied for it and others who may require a change in status as the situation remains dangerous in Syria and they are unable to return.
"When we originally made this request to the President, it was because we knew the importance of protecting Syrian nationals from what was deteriorating into a full-blown humanitarian crisis," said AAI president James Zogby. “We hope USCIS will continue to grant TPS to those in need, and we thank our partner organizations and elected leaders for their efforts to help make this happen.