Trump administration extends protections for Syrians in US

Politics

Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan arrives to the National Palace for a meeting with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, in Guatemala City, Thursday, August 1, 2019. McAleenan and Morales met to discuss an agreement under which many asylum seekers would have to file claims in the Central American nation rather than in the United States. (AP Photo/ Oliver de Ros)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is extending protections that allow about 7,000 Syrians to live and work legally in the U.S.

The decision by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was announced Thursday and extends temporary protected status for 18 months for those who have been in the U.S. since Aug. 1, 2016.

Temporary protected status is granted to countries ravaged by natural disasters or war and lets citizens of those countries remain in the U.S. until the situation improves back home. About 300,000 people have received those protections. McAleenan says the continued armed conflict in Syria merited the extension.

Trump administration officials had moved to discontinue protections for many countries; several lawsuits have been filed. A judge ruled protections for people from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador cannot be immediately ended.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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