Protection extended for 7,000 Syrian refugees living in US

Protection extended for 7,000 Syrian refugees living in US
2 min read
01 February, 2018
Around 7,000 Syrian refugees in the US have had their special protection status extended, in an acknowledgement of the continued dangers they would face back home.
Protesters have demanded the US retain the status Central American migrants [AFP]

 

Some 7,000 Syrian refugees will remain in the US for at least another 18 months, after the White House extended special protection status for the migrants.

It alleviates fears that Syrians could be deported back to the war-torn country, and an acknowledgement from President Donald Trump's administration that Syria is still not safe for the refugees to return to.

At the same time Trump stripped the same protections from hundreds of thousands of migrants from several Central American countries.

Many feared Syrians could be next in line.

"After carefully considering conditions on the ground, I have determined that it is necessary to extend the temporary protected status designation for Syria," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement.

"It is clear that the conditions upon which Syria's designation was based continue to exist, therefore an extension is warranted under the statute," Nielsen said.

It means the Syrians will be able to remain in the country until at least 30 September 2019, when another review will take place.

The ruling will only apply to Syrians who entered the US in 2016 or earlier.

Syrians have welcomed the move but some believe it does not go far enough.

"It fell short that they didn't re-designate it but I think it's a positive action nonetheless that should be praised," Monzer Shakally, a Syrian student at the University of Iowa with the temporary status told Reuters

"I'm happy this decision came out now and I don't have to worry about this for another 18 months, at least."

But some 200,000 Salvadorans, 59,000 Haitians and 5,300 Nicaraguans - some of whom had been in the country for decades - have been stripped of their protection.

Syria's war was sparked when regime troops brutally put down peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.

Since then, an armed conflict has erupted in the country with Syrian regime and Russian war planes pounding opposition towns and cities.

The result has been 500,000 people deaths and millions more made homeless.