News

    Syrians in US May Get Extended Stays

    Mana Rabiee

    With the violence in Syria showing little sign of ending, Syrian nationals visiting the U.S. are worried about having to return to Syria once their American visas run out. The Obama Administration is considering a special protection status for Syrian nationals that would allow them to remain in the U.S. - until it’s safe for them to return home.

    Syrian-Americans rallied again in Washington, last week, against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Many of them are worried their relatives and loved ones who have been in the United States on temporary visas will have to go back to Syria once their visas run out.

    Among those at risk: Nassib Nwelati, a Syrian student here on a scholarship to study business.

    “Many Syrians I know are scared to go back. They don’t know what to do. They have been so worried because not only you need to worry about what’s going on in Syria and watch the news and cry for these people. But also you need to worry about your status because the time is ticking, the clock is ticking,”  Nwelati said.

    Now help may be on the way.  Voice of America has learned the Obama Administration is about to recommend what is called a “Temporary Protection Status” for Syrian nationals currently in the U.S.

    If approved, the move would allow Syrian nationals already in the United States - on tourist, business, student and other such visas - to remain in the country, until the situation in Syria stabilizes and becomes safer for the nationals to go home.

    Earlier this month, six Democratic senators sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to quickly designate Syrian nationals for the temporary protection status.

    They say forcing Syrians to return to their country in the midst of ongoing violence would undermine U.S. leadership and is inconsistent with what they say is America’s traditional role as a safe haven for those fleeing repression.

    Attorney Abed Ayoub is with the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the U.S.  He helped lead a coalition of groups to petition the Department of Homeland Security in January for the temporary protection status.

    “The humanitarian situation on the ground in Syria is dire. And forcing anybody to return is inhumane. We can’t put these individual’s lives in  jeopardy . If the U.S. State Department feels the embassy over there is not safe enough for their employees then, for sure, the country’s not safe enough for its nationals to return,” he said.

    Data from the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration registry says there are about 3,000 Syrian nationals who would be eligible, although Arab-American activists say that number is much higher.

    But for visiting Syrians like Nassib, the protection status may literally mean the difference between life and death.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora