In January 2018, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee filed a formal petition with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of State requesting re-designation and extension of TPS for Syria.
Syria qualifies for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) because “here is an ongoing armed conflict within the state and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of aliens who are nationals of that state to that state (or to part of the state) would pose a serious threat to their personal safety.” Syria is unable to adequately handle the return of Syrian nationals; and there exist extraordinary conditions in Syria that prevent Syrian nationals from returning to Syria safely.
The humanitarian impact of the seven year civil war, Syrian refugee crisis, and ongoing armed conflict is far reaching. Over 500,000 people have been killed. The United States has played a role in the Syrian humanitarian crisis through its involvement in the ongoing armed conflict. It is now the United States responsibility to provide safe haven to persons in need who have fled after forcing the country conditions that Syrian nationals are now subject to.
Syrian TPS beneficiaries have undergone rigorous vetting and screening. Syrian TPS beneficiaries are subject to ongoing screening which requires verification of identity through biometrics and background check requirements, including for crimes, every 18 months. That means every 18 months, Syrian TPS beneficiaries are subject to screening by the National Terrorist Screening Database (watch-lists), FBI criminal databases, USCIS’s Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program or “CARRP” among others.
Beneficiaries also have underwent screening at the U.S. consulate or embassy which granted them a visa to be admitted into the United States. In order for beneficiaries to be granted a visa to enter the United States, beneficiaries were required to be screened by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Department of States. Upon seeking entry into the United States, beneficiaries also went through additional screening at the port of entry by Customs and Border Patrol for inspection and admission.
The use of chemical weapons, irregular warfare tactics, airstrikes, bombs and cluster munition campaigns, forced conscription and child soldiers, which was relied upon as part of the rationale for TPS re-designation in 2016, is ongoing today in Syria. The starvation of civilians and targeting of medical facilities is still used as a weapon of war.
The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the armed conflict in Syria is calculated at 13.1 million. As of January 2018, 5.4 million Syrians are registered as refugees, fleeing violence and risking their lives to find safety for themselves and their families. Over 6 million Syrians remain internally displaced separated from their families, with inadequate or no access to water, food, shelter, and basic necessities.