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Moulton, Russell Lead Letter to DHS Urging Renewal of TPS Designation for Syria Ahead of Crucial Deadline

January 26th, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) led a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen urging the renewal of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Syria. TPS for Syrians will expire on March 31, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security must announce at least 60 days before expiration (January 31, 2018) whether it will extend, re-designate, or terminate a designation based on the conditions in the country.

In the letter, the members stated, “Throughout our history, the United States has stood tall as a shining beacon of hope for those fleeing the violence of international conflict and civil war from the post-World War II period, to the Vietnam War, to the Balkan conflicts. We strongly urge you to renew TPS for Syrians to ensure those having just fled such brutality do not have to return to certain death and ensure our country remains a refuge for those seeking safety from terror.”

A full text of the letter can be found below.

 

January 26, 2018

The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.  20528

Dear Secretary Nielsen,

We write to strongly urge you to renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Syria.

Failure to renew TPS for Syrians would send thousands of Syrians living in the United States back to a country still wracked by civil war, the heinous brutality of the Assad regime, and lingering militant groups. There are currently nearly 7,000 Syrians living throughout the United States having fled the indiscriminate killing and wanton violence that has killed more than 400,000 Syrian civilians and displaced more than 12 million individuals. Syrians within the U.S. have contributed to our economy and workforce and have become integrated into the fabric of their communities.

Sending thousands of Syrians back to their home country would condemn them to certain death as there remains a “substantial disruption of living conditions” required for TPS as enumerated in statute (INA 1990, §244). With continued airstrikes against civilians and gas attacks against neighborhoods as recently as Saturday January 13, conditions remain as dire – if not worse – since the most recent extension was made on August 1, 2016.

As the Department of Homeland Security did when designating Syria for Temporary Protected Status in 2012, we encourage the same comprehensive background checks to continue as appropriate for applicants.

Similar TPS designations have been made and extended by both Republican and Democratic administrations since its establishment in statute in 1990, and renewing this designation is not only fully within your authority but entirely appropriate given the conditions within Syria. Throughout our history, the United States has stood tall as a shining beacon of hope for those fleeing the violence of international conflict and civil war from the post-World War II period, to the Vietnam War, to the Balkan conflicts.

We strongly urge you to renew TPS for Syrians to ensure those having just fled such brutality do not have to return to certain death and ensure our country remains a refuge for those seeking safety from terror.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request.

Congressman Seth Moulton                                                    Congressman Steve Russell

 

To learn more about Congressman Seth Moulton visit https://moulton.house.gov or connect with him on Facebook,Twitter,Instagram, Medium.

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