Senators Praised for Urging President Obama to Extend Temporary Protected Status for Syrian Nationals in U.S.
Washington, DC – Human Rights First today praised U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Bob Casey (D-PA) for urging the Obama Administration to extend temporary protected status (TPS) to Syrian nationals. This would permit Syrians already in the United States to apply for permission to remain here for a limited time and work legally, a step that Human Rights First supports in light of the ongoing crisis in Syria. “The Syrian government has waged a violent campaign against unarmed civilians. They have jailed and tortured men, women, and children, and engaged in indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations – attacks that have killed over 6,000 civilians. These ongoing attacks have elicited strong condemnations from the United States, the European Union, the Arab League, and the vast majority of the U.N. General Assembly,” said Human Rights First’s Annie Sovcik. “The administration has a responsibility to protect Syrian nationals already in the U.S. from involuntary return to Syria. It would be inhumane to force Syrians to return to this violence and insecurity.” In addition to extending TPS for Syrian nationals, Human Rights First continues to call on the Obama Administration to fully implement existing U.S. sanctions against Syria. In February, Human Rights First urged Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use his authority to block companies from supplying the Syrian government with goods needed to perpetuate its ongoing human rights abuses. For example, the group urged Geithner to use his Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) authority to address and disrupt Rosoboronexport’s plan to fulfill its contract to sell the Syrian government 36 combat jets capable of attacking ground targets. Last week, the organization called on the United States to cease its own business with Rosoboronexport and other companies providing material and financial support to enable the ongoing Syrian atrocities. For more information, please see Human Rights First’s Syria Sanctions Fact Sheet.