- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hours before President Obama announces a temporary amnesty for many illegal immigrants, his Homeland Security Department said Thursday it will grant a specific exemption allowing citizens from Ebola-affected West African countries to remain in the U.S.

Those citizens will be granted Temporary Protected Status, which is usually used to allow residents of countries hit by natural disasters to remain in the U.S. while their home countries recover.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the Ebola-inspired TPS will last for 18 months — though historically the status is often extended for years.

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

TPS can be earned by both illegal immigrants and legal visitors from the three countries. They have to prove they have been in the U.S. by Thursday in order to be eligible, so future visitors would not qualify.

Liberians were already protected under a September order that said visitors wouldn’t be forced to leave the U.S.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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