By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – President Obama’s executive order on immigration got a lot of press early this month.  But a new initiative to give temporary protection to West African immigrants affected by Ebola has gone under the radar.

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Secretary of homeland security Jeh Johnson announced last week that immigrants from Liberia, Sierra Lione, and Guinea — countries deeply affected by Ebola who are currently living in the US — can apply for a temporary, protected status and two-year work permit.

“It does not give a pathway to a green card or citizenship. It just gives temporary protection,” says Amanda Bergson-Shilcock of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.

She says the government sometimes gives this status to immigrants dealing with natural disasters in the home countries:

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“Ebola is not a natural disaster per se, but it’s having a very serious effect on the economies back in West Africa,” she says.

The application deadline is May 20th of next year.

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