The U.S. government has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians living in the United States for an additional 18 months.
In a statement Friday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the extension was granted “due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions in Syria that prevent individuals from safely returning.”
TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to migrants from eligible nations. It allows those who qualify for the program to obtain work permits and be exempt from deportation.
The status is granted to those from countries that experience extraordinary events, including natural disasters and armed conflict.
“We are committed to protecting Syrian nationals in the United States as the ongoing civil war in Syria persists, leading to continued destruction and despair,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The agency said, “Over a decade after the uprising that sparked the war, Syria continues to be mired in conflict, political instability and economic turmoil, all made more acute by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The extension allows approximately 6,448 current beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2024, according to the Department of Homeland Security. It said other Syrians residing in the United States can also apply for the program and estimated that an additional 960 individuals might be eligible, including Syrians without immigration status and individuals without nationality who last resided in Syria.