The Obama administration has extended and renewed temporary asylum status for scores of Syrian refugees residing in the United States, meaning that these individuals are shielded from being booted from America through 2018, according to a new federal notice.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a notice on Monday alerting U.S. agencies that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian refugees is being extended another 18 months, from Oct. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018, according to the notice.
"The extension allows TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2018, so long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS," according to the notice.
The extension comes as the Obama administration moves forward with a plan to relocate thousands of Syria refugees into the United States. The plan has received criticism due to what experts say is the U.S. government’s inability to screen these individuals for ties to terrorism.
Refugees given protected status cannot be removed from the United State, are able to obtain employment status, and are eligible to travel.
This extension "allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since August 1, 2016 to obtain TPS, if otherwise eligible," the notice said. "The Secretary [of Homeland Security] has determined that an extension of the current designation and a redesignation of Syria for TPS are warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2015 TPS redesignation have not only persisted, but have deteriorated, and because the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and other extraordinary and temporary conditions would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Syrian nationals if they were required to return to their country."