The U.S. government has temporarily stopped deporting people to Sri Lanka (search) and Maldives (search), two of the countries devastated by the tsunami disaster.

Citizens of those countries with deportation orders will be allowed to stay in the United States until April 7, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Homeland Security Department said Friday. Immigration officials also said they will speed deportations (search) to those countries of people who want to get home.

Non-criminal immigrants of other tsunami-affected countries will be allowed to petition to remain in the United States. Their requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, said Dean Boyd, Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman. If their deportation is suspended, they also can remain until April 7.

The department is looking for other ways to respond to the disaster, said Bill Strassberger, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Services. Options include allowing students from the affected countries to work and allowing people from the countries to work and stay in the United States under temporary protected status, even if they are in the United States illegally.

More details were expected to be announced by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Monday, Strassberger said.