TPS for Syrian refugeesThe Syrian refugee crisis has been the world’s largest humanitarian crisis for the past six years. The U.S. government has made a decision to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to 7,000 displaced Syrians. The announcement came on January 31, 2018, which granted 18 months of TPS for Syrian refugees in America.

About 400,000 deaths have resulted from the Syrian conflict since April 2016. Nearly 13.5 million people living in Syria face threats, displacement, hunger, injury and death. 6.1 million people living in Syria are displaced from their homes, and more than 4.8 million have fled the country.

Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken in millions of Syrian refugees. The majority of refugees are children, who face malnutrition, forced labor, child marriage, militant drafting, disease and death. A recent survey by U.N. cooperatives shows that children living in Lebanese refugee camps are more vulnerable to forced labor and child marriage than ever before. Syrian refugees in Lebanon live on less than $4 a day.

Jordan, considered one of the United States’ partners in alleviating the Syrian refugee crisis, has recently made breakthroughs to alleviate the dependence of refugees. As part of a compact deal that has increased international aid to Jordan, the country was able to issue more than 88,000 work permits to Syrians, allowing refugees the ability to meet their basic needs. Of the 655,000 Syrian refugees exiled in Jordan, approximately 80 percent of them live outside camps, living below the poverty line on less than $3 a day.

Recognizing the terror that Syrian refugees face by returning to their home country, the U.S. has decided to grant a TPS for Syrian refugees for 18 more months. This decision was directly influenced by the extraordinary conditions surrounding the ongoing armed conflict. The TPS for Syrian refugees only applies to those who have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016, and have been continuously physically present in the United States since October 1, 2016. The designation of the TPS for Syrian refugees is subject to be renewed based on conditions in Syria after the 18-month period expires.

This TPS designation comes after years of abuse by Syria’s Assad regime, and extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The crisis in Syria is by far the most tragic humanitarian crisis in the world today.

The U.S. government has spent nearly $6 billion on humanitarian assistance in response to the Syrian conflict. Funding supports the provision of emergency food, medicine, safe drinking water and other relief supplies to conflict-affected people in Syria and neighboring countries. This humanitarian aid comes in the form of cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothing. Shelter kits, non-food items, protection services and psychosocial support are provided to those who have been displaced but remain in Syria.

International officials ministering to Syrian refugee camps state that more international aid is needed for humanitarian efforts to lift millions of Syrian refugees out of poverty.

– Alex Galante 

Photo: John Stanmeyer