WASHINGTON - The US government said on Friday it would allow Syrians to remain in the United States temporarily because it was too dangerous for them to go home.
"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," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement.
The US Department of Homeland Security will publish guidelines next week on eligibility requirements and registration for the temporary program, which gives beneficiaries the right to work and prevents deportation regardless of visa status.
Senator Dick Durbin, one of a group of Democratic lawmakers who wrote to President Barack Obama this month seeking the waivers, said the US decision would prevent Syrians from being forced to return "to one of the most violent places on earth."
Syria will joint El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan on the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for the program.