Statement from AAI Executive Director Maya Berry on DHS’s Decision Regarding TPS for Syria:

Posted by Arab American Institute on January 31, 2018 in Blog


For Immediate Release: January 31, 2018

Official Statement from AAI Executive Director Maya Berry on DHS’s Decision Regarding TPS for Syria:

Today the Department of Homeland Security failed to re-designate Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and instead opted only to renew TPS for those Syrians who are already registered. Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry issued the following statement in response:

While we are pleased the Department of Homeland Security saw fit to renew Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians who have already registered, we are deeply disappointed that the Trump Administration has refused to re-designate TPS for Syria. It makes no sense to acknowledge the real dangers to human safety in Syria and yet to withhold a lifeline from those who qualify for TPS. Just last week Secretary Tillerson called the situation in Syria “catastrophic” and later went on to describe a chlorine gas attack that reportedly killed 20 civilians, mostly children. Earlier this month Secretary Tillerson noted the ongoing threats posed by ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria as well as the humanitarian crisis created by the millions who are still internally displaced. According to our own U.S. travel advisory, the State Department says, “No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment have significantly raised the risk of death or serious injury.”   It is unfathomable that the U.S. could turn its back on the estimated 2,000 Syrians who may qualify for TPS by failing to re-designate Syria today. 

With this decision on Syria, which by our nation’s official guidance is in the throes of an ongoing, deadly conflict, it seems the U.S. is abandoning the intent of the law which was designed to provide safe haven to vulnerable populations. Is there no circumstance where the U.S. would provide shelter or welcome those most in need? If Syrians don’t warrant TPS, we can’t imagine who should. Today’s TPS decision is yet another sign that our immigration policy is no longer guided by the American ideals enshrined on Lady Liberty but by the xenophobia that seems central to countless Trump Administration policies. Our nation, and our standing in the world, demand better.  


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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit