DHS says people from Ebola countries can stay

The Obama administration is granting temporary protected status to roughly 8,000 people living in the United States whose home countries are stricken with Ebola.

The move by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is intended to protect people from being deported back to places experiencing disaster conditions.

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The government will allow people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to apply for protection from deportation and for work permits that last 18 months, officials told Reuters.

Grants of protected status will be re-evaluated after that period based on the state of the Ebola epidemic.

DHS is placing several limits on the policy.

No one arriving from the three countries after Thursday will be eligible for protected status, and successful applicants will not be permitted to travel back and forth from West Africa out of concern about Ebola's spread.

Applicants will also not be accepted if they have a criminal background, an official told Reuters.

"The Ebola response in the United States has been front and center in the United States government at high levels," an official told the wire service.

"This designation has been part of that constant monitoring, re-evaluation and reassessment of the appropriate response."

Rep. Zoe Logfren (D-Calif.) praised the policy in a statement.

“I applaud the administration for applying lawful authority to protect Americans and foreign nationals alike from a deeply troubling humanitarian crisis, the worst recorded Ebola outbreak to date," she said.

"Just as the administration granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitian nationals following the deadly 2010 earthquake, granting TPS to people from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone is the right thing to do."

—This post was updated at 1:10 p.m.