The clock is ticking on the status of thousands of Liberians living in the United States, where a longstanding provision to protect them from deportation will expire at the end of the month unless the U.S. Congress or President Donald Trump take action.
To that end, 50 members of Congress sent a letter to Trump asking for an extension of the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) provisions in place since 1991. The Trump administration announced a year ago that the situation in Liberia no longer warrants the DED, and established a one-year transition period to end on March 31, 2019. The U.S. lawmakers want the DED reinstated.
“We ask that you take this action immediately in order to prevent anxiety and legal uncertainty within our Liberian-American communities,” stated the letter drafted by Senator Jack Reed and Representative Donald Payne.
“We believe that it is in the strategic national security, foreign policy, and humanitarian interest of the United States for this population to remain in the United States,” the letter said. “Moreover, for more than a quarter of a century the United States has been home to law-abiding and taxpaying Liberians. They have worked hard, played by the rules, and submitted to rigorous vetting. Uprooting them now would be cruel and harmful to them, their families, and employers.”
Both Reed and Representative David Cicilline have introduced legislation that would allow eligible Liberians in the U.S. to apply for permanent residency status with a pathway to citizenship.
Image: Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage file