Posted by on June 06, 2011 in Blog

The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, an international refugee advocacy organization and the recipients of a Special Recognition Award at this year’s Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala, has launched a campaign to grant Temporary Protected Status to Syrians, Libyans, and Yemenis currently in the United States.  Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a procedure by which the Secretary of Homeland Security may provide temporary asylum to individuals who are in America and who cannot safely return to their home countries.

“TPS is a great tool for temporary help for people when their countries are in dangerous conditions,” said Tricia Swartz, Director of USCRI's National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children. “We’d like to see TPS be used currently for the people from those countries because conditions are somewhat dangerous right now.... It’s for people who, if they can’t return home, if they’re some chance that they’d die, the government can let them stay longer. “

USCRI has received countless requests for assistance by Arabs who are concerned for their safety if they return home. “We’ve been getting calls and emails asking what they can do and what they’re supposed to do,” said Swartz. “A lot of them are students, who are just not sure what they can do.”

The TPS designation was established by the Immigration Act of 1990, and allows beneficiaries to remain – and work – in the United States. It does not contribute to granting an immigrant permanent residence, and reverts the beneficiary to his or her previous immigration status as soon as the temporary protection ends.

Temporary Protected Status is currently being used for citizens of El Salvador and Haiti, where political violence and natural disasters have compromised their ability to return home safety.

Swartz is optimistic that, with sufficient popular pressure, TPS will be provided to Syrians, Libyans, and Yemenis who need it. “We haven’t heard anything yet, but I think that this administration is receptive to hearing a lot of our concerns, so I think they’ll be receptive to at least considering it.”

Click here to send a letter to President Obama and Secretary Napolitano urging them to grant Temporary Protected Status to Libyans, Syrians, and Yemenis in the United States.

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