US renews special status for hundreds of Somalis until 2020

The Trump administration has allowed some 500 Somalis who escaped war from their home country to remain in the US until at least March 2020.

The US homeland security department announced on Thursday that it granted the Somalis permission to stay in the country due to the “ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary conditions” in Somalia.

The homeland security department said in a statement it made this decision because the “ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Somalia’s current designation for TPS (Temporary Protected Status) continue to exist”.

The TPS designation for Somalia was first approved by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and has shielded many Somalis from deportation and enabled them to build families and businesses in the US.

Many TPS holders are married to legal immigrants and have children who are U.S. citizens, which means some Somali families would have been forced to separate if the special TPS status was not extended.

Immigration advocates had warned that many Somalis facing loss of their protected status would recede into the shadows, like the roughly 12 million immigrants in the United States illegally.

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