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18 month extension of TPS for Syrians is not enough

By Oxfam

Oxfam is deeply disappointed with reports that the Trump Administration is deciding not to redesignate Syria for Temporary Protected Status.

While extending status for 18 months provides a temporary respite for Syrian TPS holders, we need to face the reality that there is no end in sight to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in that country, and Syrians living in limbo in the US need a longer term solution now.

“Syrian TPS holders are our friends, neighbors, and family members. They have become an integral part of our communities and they help the US economy thrive. They deserve to continue their lives free from the fear of one day being forced back into a humanitarian crisis,” said Lia Lindsey, Oxfam America Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor. “We made a commitment to offer safety to these people in a time of crisis. In return, they have become vital assets to our communities and country. Syria, without a doubt, continues to be unsafe and unstable. Moreover, the Trump administration’s decision means that many Syrians who are already here in the US will not be able to apply for TPS status. This is a wrong that needs to be addressed by Congress immediately”

The Syrian TPS holders that Oxfam has spoken with are busy pursuing higher education, working in fields that value their talents, paying their taxes, and contributing to their communities. They all expressed a desire to continue to work and learn in the United States until one day  they can safely return to Syria to help rebuild. Despite their successes in the US, Syrian TPS holders are still among some of the most vulnerable people in the world as their home country enters into its 8th year of civil war.

“Daily life in Syria remains dangerous and deadly. Today, the situation in the country continues to go from bad to worse with over 13.5 million people affected by the conflict and in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including 6.3 million people internally displaced from their homes.  Civilians are an easy target for bombs, mortars and snipers. Whole cities have been destroyed, making basic survival difficult. Electricity is sporadic and lack of fuel for heat makes it hard to stay warm in the winter. An entire generation of children risks missing out on education. These are precisely the conditions that should qualify a country to be redesignated for TPS” said Ms. Lindsey.

Oxfam is calling on Congress to immediately pass legislation granting ALL TPS holders permanent residency status and a path to citizenship, so that they can continue to safely live and work in the US without fear of return to the devastating conditions in their countries of birth. 

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