Sending Office: Honorable Steve Watkins
SIGN ON: Letter to Acting Secretary McAleenan & Acting Director Cuccinelli.
Co-Signers: Rep. Joe Wilson, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Alcee L Hastings, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Ron Wright, Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton, Rep. Vincente Gonzalez, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep.
Steve Stivers, Rep. Gerald Connolly, Rep. Susan Wild, Rep. Eliot L. Engel.
Deadline: COB Tuesday 23rd July
Dear Colleague –
We invite you to sign onto our letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan & Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, advocating for an extension of status for Syrian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders
in the U.S.
TPS is set to expire for Syrians in the United States on September 30th, 2019 putting at risk the protections currently in place for those who have been unable to return home due to the ongoing conflict, and targeting of civilians by the Assad regime.
A copy of the letter text is below. If you would like more information, or are interested in signing on, please contact Tim Churchill (Tim.Churchill@mail.house.gov)
Dear Secretary McAleenan and Director Cuccinelli:
We write to you as Members of Congress who support a free, stable, and democratic Syria.
The Syrian population in the United States, who are part of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, are currently facing the possibility of being sent home after the expiration of their status on September 30th, 2019. It is critical for the community
operating under TPS to see this status upheld until the situation in Syria becomes stable, safe, and free from oppression. This status currently applies to only 7,000 individuals in the United States, the overwhelming majority of which are professionals,
including doctors, engineers, and academics.
On April 9th, 2019, the U.S. Department of State published their latest travel advisory for Syria. In it, Syria was designated as a Level 4 risk, and warned against travel due to the high threat of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
Giving Syrians no choice but to return home would put them in danger.
TPS may be granted in scenarios wherein the Secretary of Homeland Security decides that conditions in a certain foreign country temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. Temporary and extraordinary conditions that warrant the granting
of this status include ongoing armed conflict. While present in the U.S, TPS designees are non-removable from the U.S. and can obtain an employment authorization document. TPS was granted in response to the Syrian military’s violent suppression of opposition
to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and was most recently extended by 18 months from April, 1st, 2018, to September, 30th, 2019 during which time, the situation in Syria has not improved.
We write to you in advance of the September 30th, 2019 expiration to urge you to extend the dates of the TPS of the Syrians, to avoid sending them home to a reality that remains largely unchanged from the one of which they sought refuge. While we understand
the terms and scope of their TPS, it would be an injustice to return them to a country that we advise against travelling to for our own citizens.
Members of Congress.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0