STATEMENT: Administration’s Decision to not Redesignate TPS for Syrians Tantamount to a Death Sentence, Says CAP Senior Fellow Brian Katulis

Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it has decided to extend but not redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian nationals. Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:

The Trump administration’s decision to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 6,000 Syrian nationals living and working in America is welcome relief for those families. But the line that the Department of Homeland Security drew by not redesignating Syria for TPS and offering similar protection to families that fled violence and arrived in the United States after August 2016 contradicts U.S. national security interests and values. It also makes no logical sense. Since these families left Syria, the use of chemical weapons by all sides in the conflict has continued and—subsequent even to their arrival in the United States—led to U.S. air strikes. Under the circumstances, denying these families protection is tantamount to a death sentence. Conditions in Syria today are not safe for the return of civilians—as demonstrated by this administration’s own announcement just two weeks ago to offer an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops with no clear end in sight in order to deal with horrific security conditions there.

 

Tom Jawetz, vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, added:

Because the refusal to redesignate TPS for Syria cannot be justified based upon a simple review of the facts on the ground, it seems clear that the decision was motivated by the administration’s continuing desire to chip away at this statutory form of humanitarian protection. This is only the latest in a series of decisions by the Trump administration to undermine TPS, as evidenced by previous decisions to end TPS for more than 250,000 Salvadorans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Sudanese who have been living and working in the country lawfully for nearly two decades, on average. These decisions will tear families apart and devastate American communities while continuing to undermine America’s standing in the world.

 

CAP experts are available to speak on this topic. To coordinate, please contact Elena Gaona at egaona@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6322.