Home coronavirus Biden administration extends Temporary Protected Status for Syria

Biden administration extends Temporary Protected Status for Syria

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Updated: February 24, 2021

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Pekoske announced an 18-month extension and re-designation of Syria’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. This action enables over 6,700 eligible Syrian nationals (and individuals without nationality who last resided in Syria) to retain their TPS through September 2022 and allows approximately 1,800 additional individuals to file initial applications to obtain such status. 

The DHS Secretary may designate TPS to a foreign country if conditions fall into one, or more, of the three statutory bases for designation: armed conflict, environmental disasters, and extraordinary and temporary conditions. Acting Secretary Pekoske decided to extend and newly designate Syria for TPS after consultation with interagency partners and careful consideration of Syria’s current conditions. The Syrian civil war continues to demonstrate deliberate targeting of civilians, the use of chemical weapons and irregular warfare tactics, and use of child soldiers. The war has also caused sustained need for humanitarian assistance, an increase in refugees and displaced people, food insecurity, limited access to water and medical care, and large-scale destruction of Syria’s infrastructure. These conditions prevent Syrian nationals from safely returning.

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Under the TPS statute, a country’s TPS designation can be extended for a period of 6, 12, or 18 months. A country can also be re-designated for TPS, which allows eligible individuals to obtain TPS even if they entered the United States after the effective date of the prior designation. Former DHS Secretary Napolitano initially designated Syria for TPS in March 2012.  The designation was subsequently extended and renewed by former Secretary Johnson in 2015 and 2016, and extended by former Secretary Nielsen, and former Acting Secretary McAleenan. 

Current beneficiaries under Syria’s TPS designation are eligible to re-register for an extension of their status for 18 months. Syrian nationals who entered the United States after August 1, 2016 and are otherwise eligible may register as well. DHS will publish a notice in the Federal Register with instructions for re-registration and employment authorization. The DHS Secretary will make the next decision to extend or terminate the designation for Syria on or before July 31, 2022.

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