RELEASE: More Than 50 National Security Experts Ask Secretaries Nielsen and Tillerson to Extend and Redesignate TPS for Syrians

Washington, D.C. — More than 50 national security and foreign policy experts sent a letter today asking U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to extend and redesignate temporary protected status (TPS) for Syrians. Highlighting the ongoing violence in Syria and an urgent deadline on January 31, they make the case that TPS is not only a humanitarian obligation, but is in America’s national security interest as well. Read the letter here.

“Forcing refugees from Syria to literally return to war does not send the message to the world that we care about the safety and security of the people of Syria,” said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “Extending TPS is a clear way to protect Syrians who are already out of harm’s way and who are contributing to America’s economy.”

Signatories to the letter include former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, former Deputy National Security Advisor James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

In recent months, the Trump administration has ended TPS for more than 250,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, which will tear apart families and devastate American communities. This letter aims to protect Syrians currently living and working legally in the United States from being forced to return to the war-torn country, a fate that is tantamount to a death sentence.

The experts who signed the letter echo many of the same concerns raised by humanitarian groups operating in Syria but also make the case that not extending TPS will undermine the stated goals of the Trump administration’s new approach to the conflict in Syria.

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Elena Gaona at 202-478-6322 or egaona.af@americanprogress.org.