The DHS Secretary has the ultimate authority to designate a country for TPS pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1254a if there is an ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of nationals to their home country would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. This decision is made in consultation with the USCIS. In light of current conditions, extending and renewing the designation of Syria for TPS is an obvious step that the United States must take to help the international community address the needs of Syrians who are fleeing the ongoing armed conflict and humanitarian crisis in Syria.
The Initial Designation (2012):
On January 25, 2012, ADC filed a petition with the Department of Homeland Security requesting the re-designation and extension of TPS protection for Syrian nationals present in the United States.
DHS initially designated Syria for TPS on March 29, 2012. The TPS notice cited widespread protests, the Syrian government’s excessive use of force, arbitrary executions, arbitrary detentions, torture, and ill-treatment, repressing and killing thousands of Syrians, in an effort to retain control of the country. At that time, DHS noted that: “Observers generally agree that the conflict has become increasingly violent and militarized.” The notice cited United Nations estimates that “approximately 7,500 Syrians have been killed since the violence began,” 100,000 to 200,000 Syrians are internally displaced, and approximately 35,000 Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
The 2013 and 2015 Designation:
ADC submitted TPS requests to DHS for re-designation and extension in April of 2013 and November 2014, both of which were granted.
DHS extended and renewed the designation of Syria for TPS on June 17, 2013. DHS “determined that an extension and re-designation [was] warranted because the extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria that prompted the 2012 TPS designation have not only persisted, but have deteriorated, and because there [was] an on-going armed conflict in Syria that would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Syrian nationals if they were required to return to their country.”
DHS extended and redesignated Syria for TPS on January 5, 2015. The notice cited that an estimate of more than 191,000 people had been killed since the start of the civil unrest in Syria in March 2011, approximately 6.4 million Syrians were internally displaced, and more than 3.2 million refugees from Syria had sought refuge in neighboring countries. The notice cited that SARG and armed opposition groups increasingly target civilians in Syria. The notice also cited 10.8 million Syrians remaining inside Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance, but that that access for delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people in Syria continued to be a serious challenge, and that 7 million people in Syria had little to no access to necessary humanitarian assistance in 2014
DHS extended and re-designated Syria for TPS on August 1, 2016. The notice cited the U.S. Agency for International Development report that calculated the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the armed conflict in Syria at 13.5 million. The notice also affirmed that nearly 5 million people were U.N. registered refugees and 6.5 million people were internally displaced. Additionally, the notice confirmed that in 2016, the deteriorating country in the midst of a humanitarian crisis had resulted in approximately 400,000 deaths and 1.5 million people injured.
The Most Recent Designation (2016):
In February 2016, ADC met with Leon Rodriquez, the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to discuss the need for the extension and renewal of TPS for Syria, as well as other issues impacting the Arab American community. At the meeting, ADC submitted an official petition requesting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to extend and renew the designation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beyond its current September 2016 expiration date. Additionally, ADC sent the TPS petition to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.
We must #SaveTPS for Syria!
“We left our beloved country not by choice rather by force because of the war zone situations which we were not part of it and most of the Syrians are unable to return at this time. It is not fair for the US government to leave us in the middle of nowhere.”