Oxfam expressed disappointment over the Trump administration’s decision to extend but not redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syria. While the decision provides another temporary respite for the nearly 7,000 Syrians currently with TPS, it disqualifies an estimated additional 7,000 Syrians in the US from seeking TPS, with no long-term solution in sight.
“We are relieved there is another period of protection for current TPS holders, but urge the Trump administration and Congress to find a longer-term solution to their precarious legal situation. There is little hope for Syrian TPS holders to be able to safely return to their country in the near future — even the State Department has deemed Syria as categorically unsafe,” said Daryl Grisgraber, Oxfam America Humanitarian Policy Lead. “Oxfam urges Congress to pass legislation allowing TPS holders to stay in the US permanently, 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.”
Many Syrian TPS holders have lived in the US for many years and contribute greatly to the communities to which they belong. They must not be forcibly returned to a country where they may be arrested, kidnapped, or even killed.
While the crisis in Syria may have faded from the headlines, it is far from over. Now in the eighth year of the conflict, violence continues across the country and many Syrian families’ needs are more urgent than ever. Daily life remains dangerous, with an active conflict in the northwest, and other threats ranging from detention and conscription to unexploded ordnance, a lack of essential services and crippling poverty. and Syrian refugees in the region speak of their fears of being forced to return.
“The Trump administration has terminated or attempted to terminate TPS for nearly every country under its designation, despite clear indicators that country conditions are unsafe,” said Grisgraber. “Rather than continue to slam our country’s doors and take every imaginable action to keep out refugees, asylum-seekers, TPS holders, and other vulnerable groups in need of protection, the US should uphold our longstanding history of being a safe haven for the world’s most vulnerable.”