ADC Condemns Cancellation of TPS for Syria

Washington, DC | | January 31, 2018 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation’s largest Arab-American civil rights organization, condemns in the strongest terms the Trump Administration’s decision to revoke Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 7,000 Syrians in the U.S.

TPS allows nationals from designated countries facing humanitarian disasters and/or domestic strife and violence to legally stay in the U.S. TPS does not confer a path to permanent residency, and by definition is a provisional solution, but, rather, provides a safe haven until beneficiaries can return to their homes without harm. Anyone picking up a newspaper could tell you that an involuntary return to Syria would be dangerous.

When TPS was last renewed for Syrians in 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services argued that “the return of Syrian nationals to Syria would pose a serious threat to their personal safety” due to the country’s ongoing civil war. Unfortunately, the seven-year civil war does not appear to be drawing to a close – a fact that the Trump Administration recognizes in its deployment of American troops to the country without an end date to their mission.

If the situation in Syria is so dangerous that U.S. troops are needed to fight ISIS and support rebel allies, it defies logic that Syrian civilians in the U.S. should be returned to a theater of war. Moreover, many of the TPS beneficiaries are publicly opposed to the government of Bashar Assad and risk imprisonment, torture, and death if they are captured by regime forces. It is outrageous and shameful that the Trump Administration is now forcing Syrians to return against their will to violence and repression. Syrian TPS beneficiaries will be forced to return to unsafe conditions on March 31, 2018.

It is no less shameful and outrageous, albeit not surprising, that this decision was made in the interest of pandering to Pres. Trump’s nativist base, which is opposed even to temporary immigration services. This nativism is compounded by a prejudiced hostility toward Arabs and Muslims and the fearmongering that Syrians pose a threat to the nation’s security. In reality, Syrian TPS beneficiaries have undergone rigorous vetting and screening, which requires verification of identity through biometrics and background check requirements, every 18 months, by the National Terrorist Screening Database (watch-lists), FBI criminal databases, USCIS’s Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program or “CARRP” among others.

The Trump Administration has already canceled TPS status for Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan and El Salvador ignoring the advice of experts that all three countries still warrant TPS designation due to unstable conditions. Revoking TPS for Syrians only adds to this administration’s ignoble record and dishonors our proud heritage of welcoming “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” ADC will continue to fight for the right of Syrian TPS beneficiaries and all refugees and immigrants in the U.S.

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