Trump grants 6,900 Syrians temporary protection
Washington: President Donald Trump has extended temporary protection for 6,900 Syrians living in the US by 18 months as war continues to ravage their country.
They were shielded from deportation under a humanitarian programme called Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The protection will be extended for the Syrians already living and working in the US, the BBC reported on Thursday.
But Syrians who entered the country after August 2016 will be excluded from the programme. The extension does not apply to any new or recent applicants from Syria, the report said.
Trump cancelled TPS programmes for various countries earlier, affecting immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua.
Created in 1990, TPS allows immigrants from countries deemed unsafe to lawfully live and work in the US.
It is used by hundreds of thousands of people from countries that have been hit by natural disasters or civil conflicts.
Since 2011, Syria has been embroiled in a civil war that has caused millions to flee and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Protections were set to expire for Syrians on March 31, but with the extension will now last at least another 18 months.
"It is clear that the conditions upon which Syria's designation was based continue to exist, therefore an extension is warranted under the statute," Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen said in a statement.
"We will continue to determine each country's TPS status on a country-by-country basis."
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would end protected status for 262,500 Salvadorians with an 18-month delay.
In November, the administration said that protection for Haitians and Nicaraguans would also end in 2019.