boys at a syrian refugee camp in lebanon Boys at a Syrian refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley of eastern Lebanon on March 25, 2016. (Mark Garten/UN photo)

Syrians’ Temporary Protected Status Extended by DHS for 18 Months

Syrians already in the United States under temporary protected status will be able to apply for extensions good through September 2019, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced today.

About 7,000 Syrians currently live in the country through TPS, which is granted “due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately,” including during wars and after natural disasters, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Syrian war, which began with President Bashar al-Assad’s armed response to Arab Spring pro-democracy demonstrators in 2011, has claimed more than half a million lives. More than 10,000 civilians were killed last year, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

The Trump administration previously decided to end TPS for Haitians and El Salvadorans. Last September, TPS for South Sudan was extended by 18 months.

Nielsen said in a statement that Syria’s TPS designation would be extended for 18 months “after carefully considering conditions on the ground.”

“It is clear that the conditions upon which Syria’s designation was based continue to exist, therefore an extension is warranted under the statute,” she said. “We will continue to determine each country’s TPS status on a country-by-country basis.”

Syrians who are eligible to re-register under TPS must have continually resided in the United States since Aug. 1, 2016, and been physically present in the country on a continuous basis since Oct. 1, 2016.

The renewal of TPS means Syrian beneficiaries can receive work authorization through Sept. 30, 2019. Before that expiration date, DHS will review the country status again and decide whether Syrians warrant another TPS renewal.

Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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