News

    Syrians in US To Get Extended Stay

    Syrians in US will be able to have their visas extended because of decision by State Department
    Syrians in US will be able to have their visas extended because of decision by State Department
    Mana Rabiee

    The United States says it will designate a special protection status for Syrian nationals in the U.S., which will allow them to remain in the country until it becomes safer for them to return home to Syria.

    The Department of Homeland Security, in an online statement released on Friday, said it will issue a Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Syrians already in the country.

    The move will allow Syrian nationals visiting the U.S. - on tourist, business, student and other such visas - to remain beyond the designated period of their visas.

    In announcing the move, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face “serious threats to their personal safety” if they were to return to their home country.

    Earlier in March, six Democratic senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to quickly designate Syrian nationals for the Temporary Protection Status.

    The letter on March 1 said forcing Syrians to return to their country in the midst of ongoing violence would “undermine U.S. leadership” and be inconsistent with what the senators said is America’s “traditional role as a safe haven for those fleeing repression.”

    Humanitarian Crisis Grows

    The effort to issue the status to Syrian nationals was spearheaded in part by a coalition of advocacy groups in the U.S. concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

    Attorney Abed Ayoub is Legal Director of one of those groups, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the U.S.

    He helped lead the coalition to petition the Department of Homeland Security in January for the Temporary Protection Status.

    Earlier this month, he said the humanitarian situation in Syria was so dire that requiring anybody to return would be “inhumane.”

    “We can’t put these individual’s lives in jeopardy,” he said. “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 to force nationals to return.”

    The Department of Homeland Security’s immigration registry shows there are roughly 3,000 Syrian nationals in the U.S. who would be eligible for the status, although Arab-American activists like Ayoub say the number is much higher.

    Syrians Talk of Fears

    Nassib Nwelati is among those worried about the possibility of having to go back to Syria when his visa expires.  He is in the U.S. on an academic scholarship to study business.  His student visa expires in four months and, until the announcement Friday, he felt unsure of where else to turn.

    “Many Syrians I know are scared to go back,” said Nassib. “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.”   

    The Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce details Thursday on how Syrians already visiting the U.S. may apply for the Temporary Protection Status.   All applicants will have to undergo full background checks.

    The U.S. government has issued similar “blanket” protections to foreign nationals in the past, including to Haitians following the earthquake of 2010 and most recently in 2011 to nationals of South Sudan.

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora