The Department of Homeland Security has extended protections for about 7,000 Syrians living in the United States, the department announced Wednesday night.
To be eligible, Syrians must have lived in the United States continuously since Aug. 1, 2016. Those who came later might be eligible for other forms of relief, according to the DHS release. This is the first time new immigrants from Syria will not be eligible to apply, according to CNN.
Similar programs in other countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador have been canceled, the BBC reported.
The Temporary Protected Status was extended due to the ongoing conflict in the region, according to the DHS release. Syria has been in conflict since 2011.
“After carefully considering conditions on the ground, I have determined that it is necessary to extend the Temporary Protected Status designation for Syria,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said according to the news release. “It is clear that the conditions upon which Syria’s designation was based continue to exist, therefore an extension is warranted under the statute. We will continue to determine each country’s TPS status on a country-by-country basis.”
The protections extend for 18 months and will last until Sept. 30, 2019. DHS plans to reassess conditions in Syria by that point.