Terror Concerns: Obama Administration Extends Protected Status Deadline For New Somali Refugees

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: Jul 29, 2015 8:30 AM
Terror Concerns: Obama Administration Extends Protected Status Deadline For New Somali Refugees

The Obama administration, through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has extended the period in which new Somalian refugees can apply for protected status. So far in 2015, the USCIS has admitted an additional 6200 refugees from Somalia into the United States, the most of any other African country. These refugees, like the ones before them, are eligible for government welfare benefits under current policy. Since 2010, more than 25,000 Somali refugees have been relocated in the U.S. 

"Friday, July 31, 2015, is the deadline for current Somalia Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries to re-register for the 18-month extension of TPS that runs from Sept. 18, 2015, through March 17, 2017," an email from USCIS states. "Eligible Somalia TPS beneficiaries who re-register during the registration period and request employment authorization will receive a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with an expiration date of March 17, 2017."

In recent years the U.S. has had serious concerns and problems with terrorism recruitment inside the Somali-American community. Particularly, these problems are occurring in Minnesota, where many Somali refugees have settled. Earlier this year, six Somali-Americans were arrested for providing support to ISIS. Four of them were convicted. 

A 10-month investigation has led to arrests in what some have called the largest confirmed case of Islamic State recruiting in the United States. Federal prosecutors say six young Somali Americans arrested Sunday in Minneapolis and San Diego were attempting to travel to Syria to fight with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

But while the recruitment efforts of extremists may have been thwarted this time, government officials say that more work is needed to ensure that Muslim youth are not radicalized. So far, a few dozen Americans have traveled, or attempted to travel, to Syria to join the Islamic State. The single-largest cohort has been Somali-Americans from Minnesota, according to The New York Times.

“To be clear, we have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota. I urge anyone who is concerned about their young son or brother to reach out,” Andy Luger, US attorney in Minnesota, said during a press conference on Monday.

Finally, because the United States doesn't have  treaty with Somalia (a failed State), refugees cannot be sent back to the country even after crimes or acts of terror are committed.