Temporary Protected Status for Syrians in the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued notice in the Federal Register announcing that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of 18 months, effective March 29, 2012 through September 30, 2013. (77 FR 19026, 03/29/12). Feel free to pass this information on to any parishioner you know may need assistance.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR SYRIANS
Rare Immigration Benefit Approved for Syrian Nationals in the United States
On March 29, 2012, in a rare decision, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that eligible Syrian nationals in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which will provide immigration benefits to potentially thousands of Syrians living in the US.
TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to foreign nationals of certain countries who are in the U.S. and who cannot safely return to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other emergency conditions. USCIS stated that Syria has been designated for TPS status "[d]ue to the violent upheaval and deteriorating situation in Syria," referring to the yearlong, nationwide uprising against the Syrian regime and its crackdown on the opposition, which has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Syrians, including women and children.
The possibility of TPS for Syria initially appeared unlikely as only a select list of countries have been eligible for TPS status over the years; however, due to the dire circumstances in Syria and continued pressure from a coalition of Arab-American and other organizations, the request for TPS was approved.
USCIS has designated Syria for TPS for an 18-month period (until September 30, 2013), with the possibility of renewal. During this designated period, Syrians granted TPS status may not be deported from the US; they can obtain work authorization; and they may be granted permission to travel. Applicants must show that they came to the US on or before March 29, 2012 and have been continually residing in the country. Applications for TPS registration must be submitted by September 25, 2012. TPS does not provide a path to permanent resident status ("green card") or any other long term status; however, TPS holders may apply for any other status for which they are eligible. When a TPS designation is terminated, TPS holders revert to the same immigration status they maintained before
TPS, if that status remains valid, or to any other status they may have obtained while registered for TPS.
Please share this very important news with anyone you know who may be in need of applying for TPS.
This is a great opportunity to help Syrians and protect them from having to return to the unstable situation currently in Syria, while providing them with legal status in the U.S. with the ability to work and travel.