The U.S Department of Homeland Security, which routinely extends Temporary Protected Status (TPS, a form of amnesty) for 18-month periods, yesterday extended it for only six months for three West African nations where Ebola had been active in the recent past.

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The nations involved are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone; citizens of those countries who were in the United States on November 21, 2014, whether legally or illegally, were granted the option of applying for TPS.

The current TPS designations, which protect people from deportation if they come from countries where it could be dangerous to return to, were set to expire May 21, but will now be extended until Nov. 21, USCIS said.

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Under TPS, an alien can work and cross our borders legally, but cannot use that status as a step toward permanent legal status.

The Ebola crisis, of course, has been over for some time. All three nations last year were ruled to be free of the virus, though two cases popped up earlier this year in Sierra Leone.

U.S. medical authorities no longer advise American travelers to stay away from the three nations and DHS itself has decided not to make an issue of Ebola when issuing advance parole documents for travel to and from those nations.