The Obama administration has redesignated war-torn Syria for “temporary protected status,” or TPS, meaning almost anyone from Syria who is in the United States on an expired visa can stay here for at least another 18 months.
This includes students, tourists, professors, imams or anyone else from Syria who stayed past their visas expiration dates over the last four years. They can now stay in the country without fear of deportation.
The move by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson showed up in the Federal Register Monday. It allows eligible Syrian nationals, or persons without nationality who last resided in Syria, to register or re-register for TPS in accordance with the Federal Register notice.
The move amounts to temporary amnesty for more than 8,000 Syrians. But if the Syrian situation follows that of other nations embroiled in protracted civil strife, the Syrians won’t be going home anytime soon, even after the latest 18-month extension is over.
The Obama administration has given similar protection to foreign nationals from Somalia, Haiti and other countries racked by war or natural disasters.
Current beneficiaries under Syria’s TPS designation seeking to extend their TPS status must re-register during a 60-day period that runs from Aug. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2016.
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible,” the DHS said in the published notice.