Homeland Security announces special refugee immigration status for Syrians currently in US

Syrian rebels patrol in the north of nor

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File: Syrian rebels patrol in the north of northern Syria's Idlib region, on March 18, 2012.

As the violence continues in Syria, a growing number of Syrian families have come to Southern California seeking refuge. Thanks to a new ruling, those families will now have the right to stay.

It had been expected for months, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the announcement Friday.

"Conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country," Napolitano said in a statement.

Earlier in the year, a number of Syrian and Muslim-American organizations asked the Department of Homeland Security to grant the refugees Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. It’s a temporary immigration classification that applies to migrants from countries that are deemed unstable.

It will be granted to those already here in the U.S. TPS can be extended for as long as the instability continues, and it allows people to work in the U.S. and bring family members.

Syrians have been migrating to the U.S. and settling in the L.A. area for many generations. The latest migration wave started in the mid-1960s and brought more than 60,000 Muslim Syrians.

Honduras and Nicaragua have been on the TPS list since the 1990s, but no such status was given to Iraqis or Libyans during conflict in their countries.

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