(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will allow about 7,000 Syrians who have fled war in their country to stay 18 months longer in the United States, extending them a temporary protection on Thursday it has tried to deny to other migrants.
The United States grants Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants whose home countries have been devastated by war or natural disaster and are deemed too dangerous to return.
As part of its hardline immigration policy, the Trump administration tried to discontinue the humanitarian relief for about 327,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
However, a U.S. judge in California last year reversed the administration’s plan to end the temporary protection, finding that the home countries would be economically hurt if that many people were returned.
Since then the Trump administration has extended TPS for Honduras and Nepal.
The Department of Homeland Security announced it would extend TPS to Syrians based on the eight-year-long civil war in Syria. TPS was first extended to Syrians in 2012 and periodically renewed.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan “determined that the conditions supporting Syria’s designation for TPS continue to exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be extended,” DHS said in a statement.
The 7,000 Syrian beneficiaries can now re-register for TPS and remain in the United States with work permits through March 2021, the statement said.
The protection is limited to those who have lived in the United States since Aug. 1, 2016.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Grant McCool