Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Blog

ThinkProgress Security has a great piece about granting Temporary Protected Status to Syrian nationals currently residing in the U.S., a measure we’ve been advocating since last December.

We’ve seen significant traction on this issue in Congress in the past few weeks. Senator Durbin and five other Senators signed a letter to President Obama requesting immediate TPS protections, and there may be legislation coming to the House soon as well. But, as ThinkProgress notes, no Republicans have officially endorsed the measure, even though it’s an easy, strategic, and meaningful way to protect the lives of thousands of Syrian citizens currently in U.S. on work and student visas.

There are almost no cogent arguments against the implementation of these protections. The cost is minimal – particularly against the alternative of adjudicating thousands of asylum requests individually. And unlike asylum requests, the protections have no effect on long-term immigration status. The remaining issue – that TPS could somehow constitute a security risk – is patently absurd. TPS protections are only extended to individuals who have already been admitted to the U.S., and the Department of Homeland Security maintains the right to deny TPS status to individuals who have broken any laws or could constitute a threat to national security.

Considering the government’s passionate statements of solidarity with the people of Syria, it’s frankly shocking that more individuals haven’t gotten behind this. It is, as the ThinkProgress article describes it, “a no-brainer.” But beyond all the rhetoric, TPS is a chance to significantly help thousands of Syrians, many of whom are deathly afraid of returning home. It is a way for our government to demonstrate that its actions will match its words, and this small measure will likely do more to reassure the Syrian people of our support than any speeches or tweets could hope to do.

The ThinkProgress article says it best: “We can debate whether or not military intervention is an appropriate strategy for our nation’s leaders. But whether to send foreign nationals directly back in to a violent conflict should not be up for debate at all.”

Though they’re right to point out the lack of Republican support for TPS, the real tragedy is the lack of interest on this issue from all parts of government. For the sake of our principles, our morals, and our strategic interests, I hope sincerely that will change soon.

Read the rest of the article here.

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