MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to decide by Thursday whether it will extend temporary legal protections for about 250 Somalis who fled violence and famine in their home country, many of whom live in Minnesota.

The special immigration designation for Somalia was initially approved by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 due to a civil war and has been extended 22 times since then. The program, known at `temporary protected status' has shielded many Somalis from deportation. If the special status is not extended, some Somali families who have built lives in Minnesota could be forced to separate.

The Trump administration has argued the program was never meant to be a long-term solution for immigrants. It has already revoked protections for immigrants from seven countries.