Despite a firm stance on migration, Donald Trump has twice extended protection for Syrians due to the ongoing conflict.
President Joe Biden’s administration was extended on Friday deportation relief for several thousand Syrian immigrants living in the United States, an early initiative that fits with its broader pro-immigrants platform.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary David Pekoske said the temporary protection status, known as GST, would be extended by 18 months. It was due to expire on March 31.
“This action allows more than 6,700 eligible Syrian nationals (and those without nationality who last resided in Syria) to keep their TPS until September 2022 and allows approximately 1,800 additional people to file an initial application for obtain such status, ”according to the announcement.
Temporary status allows foreign citizens to stay in the United States if they do not have some other form of legal residence and come from a country that meets certain criteria that make return unsafe.
Wonderful news like @DHSgov announces an 18-month extension AND a new designation of Syria’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that allows many Syrians to work and live legally in the United States as their country experiences humanitarian crisis and hardships human rights https://t.co/UavosAbGtq pic.twitter.com/V3HkuNN5xM
– Mai El-Sadany (@maitelsadany) January 29, 2021
The renewal order covers Syrian citizens and people with no other nationality who last resided there.
Pekoske said Syria continues to meet this criterion due to the civil war. He cited factors that include the deliberate targeting of civilians, the use of chemical weapons and the scarcity of food and water.
Biden, who took office on January 20, has pledged to take a more welcoming approach to refugees and immigrants. The position contrasts with the hard line policy of former Republican President Donald Trump, who canceled many humanitarian protections.
Trump has largely sought to phase out registration in the TPS program for immigrants from central America and other countries, but has been thwarted by legal challenges. Despite his firm stance, his administration has twice extended protections for Syrians due to the ongoing armed conflict and limited access to medical care in the country. Trump, however, did not allow any new candidates into the program.
Biden also pledged to grant TPS to immigrants to Venezuela due to economic conditions in that country, although Trump anticipated that move by providing the protections through a similar program before stepping down.