Mr. Cuccinelli: America Remains the Safest Harbor for Women, Men and Children Fleeing Violence and Repression in Syria

Coalition Urges New USCIS Acting Director to Extend Protected Status for Syrians

June 19, 2019

Washington, DC — Today, a coalition of Syrian American community groups and humanitarian NGOs welcomed former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as acting head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and urged him to redesignate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Syrians who face unprecedented levels of violence and oppression at home.

“Acting Director Cucinnelli made efforts as Attorney General to protect the vulnerable, including women being trafficked and children facing abuse,” the coalition said. “Families fleeing violence in Syria have found refuge in the United States as the Syrian government, its allies and terrorist groups ratchet up violence in places like Idlib Province and perpetrate repressive policies across the country. In Idlib more than three million Syrians are facing barrel bomb attacks on civilian centers like hospitals and schools—threatening humanitarian and refugee catastrophes—it is clear there is no safe harbor in Syria for those who have fled for their lives. Syrians across the country face forced conscription, relentless violence, persecution, detention, torture and death if they return.

“President Trump and his Administration have designated the crisis as a National Emergency and a threat to U.S. national security interests, and rightfully so. The State Department is blunt in its Travel Advisory: ‘No part of Syria is safe from violence.’ We urge Acting Director Cuccinnelli to re-designate and extend TPS for Syrians who want nothing else than to return home to a safe and secure Syria when that option is available.”

On May 8, 2019, President Trump extended the National Emergency declaration for Syria, citing the Assad regime’s “brutality and repression of the Syrian people” and its “actions and policies, including with respect to chemical weapons, supporting terrorist organizations…[which] continue to foster the rise of extremism and sectarianism and pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Statement signatories include:

  • American Relief Coalition for Syria (ARCS)
  • Americans for a Free Syria (AFS)
  • Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees
  • Syrian American Council (SAC)