WASHINGTON (CBS) -- The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced that Temporary Protected Status for Syria has been renewed.
That represents good news for roughly 7,000 Syrians who will be able to stay legally in the country without fear of deportation.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin A. McAleenan announced that the extension of TPS status for Syria has been deemed warranted. The extension will be in place for 18 months.
The decision to extend TPS to Syria was made in light of ongoing armed conflict.
Earlier this week, CBS 2's Charlie De Mar talked with Dr. Nashwan Al Othman, an endocrinologist who left everything in war-torn Syria– even his family – for a better life in the U.S. in 2016.
Othman has settled into life in suburban Highland Park – even advocating for several human rights organizations.
He had become a target in Syria because of his profession.
"Staying in Syria was a threat to personal my safety," Othman said. "I couldn't do that anymore, especially after my clinic was bombed. I saw that there was no hope for me."
Othman said Tuesday that he was "so hopeful" that TPS status would be renewed for Syria.
Earlier Thursday, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) cited CBS 2's story on Othman – whom he said he knows as a friend – as he called for the renewal of TPS for Syrian refugees.
"I've met (Dr. Othman) through his advocacy for the UN's Nothing But Nets anti-malaria campaign, and we've visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum's exhibit on Syria together." Schneider wrote. "There is no doubt he is a member of our community in the Tenth District, and that we are all stronger for it. His future in the United States, like that of more than 7,000 Syrian refugees, is at risk if the Trump Administration does not renew their Temporary Protected Status. It's critical we renew TPS for Syrian refugees and continue to be a nation that welcomes refugees seeking safety."
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