Win Without War Joins Syrian-American and +50 Orgs in Letter to Trump Administration on Syria TPS Extension and Redesignation

tps letter

Last Updated on January 19, 2018.


Ahead of the United States Department of Homeland Security decision on TPS for Syria, Win WIthout War joins Syrian-American organizations and +50 human rights, immigration, advocacy, and faith groups in letter to DHS Secretary Nielsen and Secretary of State Tillerson advocating for extension and redesignation of TPS for Syria.

The full text and list of signers is below and a PDF version is available here.




January 18, 2018
The Honorable Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

The Honorable Secretary Rex Tillerson
Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Tillerson:

We the undersigned human rights, immigration, advocacy, and faith groups and organizations write to you today to urge you to renew and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians in the United States. Syrian TPS recipients include innovative entrepreneurs, dedicated teachers, and hardworking employees who contribute directly to our country’s economy, enrich our national fabric, and reflect positively on our diverse social heritage.

In response to a mounting humanitarian crisis and the commission of egregious rights abuses, in March 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first designated Syria for TPS on the basis that “there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria that prevent Syrian nationals from returning in safety, and that permitting such aliens to remain temporarily in the United States would not be contrary to the national interest of the United States.” Explaining its decision, the TPS notice cited the Syrian government’s excessive use of force, arbitrary executions, detentions, torture, repression, and killing of thousands of Syrians as a reaction to peaceful protests.

Since then–and in a testament to the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights crisis in Syria–TPS for Syrians has been extended and redesignated by DHS three times. Today, as the armed conflict and extraordinary circumstances that first prompted the TPS designation and its subsequent extensions continue without question, we urge you to act yet again to honor our government’s commitment to protecting the world’s most vulnerable populations, in a move that is consistent with our national interests and in line with our government’s assessments about Syria.

Since the war first broke out in Syria, more than 500,000 Syrians have been killed, at least 5.5 million Syrians have become registered refugees, and at least 6.1 million Syrians have been internally displaced. The State Department’s January 2018 travel advisory confirms that unprecedented violence continues: “No part of Syria is safe from violence. Kidnappings, the use of chemical warfare, shelling, and aerial bombardment have significantly raised the risk of death or serious injury. The destruction of infrastructure, housing, medical facilities, schools, and power and water utilities has also increased hardships inside the country.”

In the unlikely chance that Syrians who are returned to their country are able to evade becoming
the target of barrel bombs, airstrikes, sieges, or chemical weapons attacks, they are likely to face arbitrary arrest or forced conscription by Syrian authorities. According to the 2016 State Department Human Rights Report, “on their return to the country…persons who unsuccessfully sought asylum in other countries…faced prosecution.” The government has routinely arrested dissidents and former citizens with no known political affiliation who attempted to return to the
country after years or even decades of self-imposed exile. Anecdotes from the ground further confirm that the Syrian government has been arresting individuals perceived to be of fighting age, as well as forcibly recruiting child soldiers.

Syrians who are returned to their country will additionally be unable to access basic necessities, including food, water, electricity, and their original homes. The State Department reports that “the humanitarian needs inside Syria continue to outpace the international response,” a reality that is starkly demonstrated by the fact that the UN’s humanitarian response plan for Syria is only 51 percent funded.

The brutal war crimes and crimes against humanity, widespread arrests and repression, and starvation and medical deteriorations that Syrians inside the country are subjected to on a regular basis make the return of TPS beneficiaries untenable and tantamount to a death sentence. The United States should not only extend, but redesignate TPS for Syria. This will ensure that Syrians have a safe, legal place to reside until the situation in Syria stabilizes; until the ongoing armed conflict comes to a clear end; and until the extraordinary circumstances at hand subside.


The Undersigned
(listed in alphabetical order)
Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice
Alianza Americas
American Relief Coalition for Syria
Americans for a Free Syria
Anti-Defamation League
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Center for Victims of Torture
Church World Service
CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice
Coalition for a Democratic Syria
American Syriac Union
Association of Free Syrians
Syrian American Council
Syrian Christians for Peace
Syrian Emergency Task Force
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Farmworker Association of Florida
Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Human Rights First
Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
Immigrant Justice Corps
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Immigration Issues Committee of Herndon-Reston Indivisible
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Institute of New England
International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees
Muslim Public Affairs Council
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
New York Immigration Coalition
OneAmerica (Washington State)
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Refugees International
Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN)
Syrian Forum USA
The Syria Campaign
Together We Remember
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
USC International Human Rights Clinic
Valley Syria Relief Committee
Veterans for American Ideals
We Belong Together
Win Without War

January 19, 2018