United States Will Grant Temporary Protected Status To Immigrants From The West African Countries Affected By The Ebola Epidemic

The United States will now grant temporary protected status to people from the three most affected West African countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea — hit by the Ebola outbreak. The temporary protected status will allow visitors from these countries to stay up to 18 months, the status will protect them from deportation and enable them to apply for work permits throughout their stay in the United States.

The Temporary Protected Status is usually given out to resident of countries severely hit by natural disasters. In 2010, the Temporary Protected Status was initiated for residents of Haiti in responsive to the massive earthquake.

“Eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone who are currently residing in the United States may apply for Temporary Protected Status,” United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that administers legal immigration benefits, said in a statement.

The status will only apply to those from the three West African who are already in the United States in order to prevent a mass migration from these countries. However, they will not be allowed to travel home and return to the United States due to fears of spreading the Ebola outbreak to the U.S.

The Ebola outbreak, which has claimed over 5,000 lives in this West African region, is the worst of its kind since the discovery of the virus. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officials estimate that 8,000 people will be eligible to apply.

“The Ebola response in the United States has been front and center in the United States government at high levels,” said a Department of Homeland Security official. “This designation has been part of that constant monitoring, re-evaluation and reassessment of the appropriate response.”

The Inquisitr earlier reported that Republican congressman Bob Goodlatte had information that President Obama President Obama’s administration may be pursuing plans to bring non-U.S. citizens that are suffering from the Ebola virus to the United States for treatment.

However, no such move has transpired and instead residents from the affected countries can only apply for the Temporary Protected Status if they are already in the United States.

[Image via NBC News]