Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Blog

Yesterday, the Arab American Institute, in a formal request to the Obama administration, asked for Temporary Protected Status privileges to be extended to Syrian citizens currently residing 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.

As the Syrian uprising nears its 10th month, the situation on the ground has grown increasingly dangerous for average Syrian citizens. Questions continue about the safety of Syrian nationals upon their return home from visits to the U.S. As a result, many Syrians currently in the U.S. are deeply concerned for their personal safety and the safety of their families if they return home.

If granted, TPS will allow Syrian citizens who are currently here – mostly as students and tourists – to stay in the U.S. until they can safely return home. 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.

TPS protects people in a time of great need, and would help to protect the lives and safety of countless Syrians who would otherwise be forced to return to Syria at a time of heightened interrogations, arrests, and torture, particularly for those who have been travelling abroad.

In the letter to President Obama, AAI President Jim Zogby stated:

Granting Temporary Protected Status is a safe, compassionate, and reasonable way to protect the lives of Syrian citizens currently in the United States, in a manner that upholds our national values, protects our strategic interests, and builds our international goodwill.

Extending TPS benefits to Syrian citizens will demonstrate that the United States cares about the lives and well-being of the Syrian people, matching our rhetoric on Syria with concrete humanitarian action.

Read the full letter



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