CAIR-LA & SAC-LA Host Immigration Clinic for Syrian Nationals & Refugees

More than two dozen Syrian nationals and refugees attended an immigration clinic hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Area chapters of the Syrian American Council (SAC-LA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) this past Sunday, November 10.

The clinic aimed to assist Syrian nationals with their applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), an immigration status that permits a citizen of another country to live and work in the United States, as well as travel with a temporary passport for a designated period of time. The temporary status is typically granted to citizens of other countries who cannot return home safely due to violence, war, or natural disasters.

Syrians in the United States were originally granted temporary protected status in March 2012, giving them a temporary refuge from the violence and lack of security in their country. The status usually lasts for 18 months before it needs renewal or re-designation. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security extended the existing TPS designation for Syrian nationals through March 31, 2015 .

According to DHS “a Syrian national, or an individual having no nationality who last habitually resided in Syria, may be eligible for TPS under the re-designation if he or she has continuously resided in the United States since June 17, 2013 and has been continuously physically present in the United States since Oct. 1, 2013. ”

CAIR-LA staff, pro bono attorneys, and recent law graduates volunteered their time to educate and encourage eligible Syrians to register for the status before the December 16 deadline. Among the clinic volunteers was Noor Kurdi, a Syrian-American graduate of the American University School of Law.

“The volunteers and I were honored to help the more than 25 Syrians and their families who visited the clinic,” Kurdi said. “Each of us was touched by the stories that the refugees shared, and given the scale and nature of the conflict, it's comforting to know we are doing something positive in these individuals' lives.”

“With the continuous unrest in their home country, it’s critical for Syrians to know that the option of having temporary protected status is available to them,” said CAIR-LA’s Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy. “We’re hoping to continue this service to fulfill the needs of the growing numbers of Syrian nationals who are seeking a place of safety and refuge for themselves and their loved ones.”

Syria is the eighth country whose citizens receive temporary protected status in the United States. There are currently seven other countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

For more information on temporary protected status, please call CAIR-LA or SAC-LA.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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