The Obama administration is granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Syrians who are currently living in the U.S. illegally. Under this program, the over 8,000 Syrians who illegally crossed the U.S. border or overstayed their visas can stay in the U.S. for another 18 months and gain access to work permits and other legal documents.
Homeland Security usually grants TPS status to counties where conditions may temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely. During these designated 18 months those who are eligible for TPS will be allowed to work and reside in the U.S. and cannot be detained by DHS due to their unlawful immigration status.
Those with significant criminal records are not supposed to be eligible for TPS, but the FBI Director, James Comey, has said that the U.S. does not have the ability to thoroughly screen Syrian nationals. The U.S. does not have access to Syrian databases that are usually used to verify someone’s identity or criminal record.
These Syrian migrants will be in addition to Pres. Obama’s goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. this year. Despite the FBI Director and other security official’s warnings Pres. Obama lowered the 18-24 month screening process for Syrian refugees to only 3 months. Currently 7,654 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. but this accelerated process has made it possible for the President to reach his goal in the next two months.
(via: Numbers USA)