Liberians in U.S fear deportation

APA-Monrovia (Liberia)

United States President Donald Trump has announced that he will not extend the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status for Liberians which expires on March 31st.

The Liberians who have been in the U.S. since 2002 on the special DED legal status will have a year before they are forced out of the U.S.

The DED is in the president’s discretion to authorize as part of his power to conduct foreign relations. Although the DED is not a specific immigration status, individuals covered by the DED are not subject to removal from the United States for a designated period of time.

It can be recalled that in 2018 President Trump recently said several thousand Liberians who have been living in the United States under the temporary immigration status will have one year to return to their country or they will face deportation.

The president made the statement in a memo to the secretary of state that he was formally ending a program that has allowed Liberian immigrants to remain in the United States and work legally since 1999, when President Bill Clinton established it in response to conditions in the country after a prolonged civil war.

The program known as DED has been renewed for Liberians since, giving the immigrants the ability to remain in the United States without fear of deportation. But in the memo, President Trump cited the improved conditions in Liberia as evidence that the program was no longer needed.

“Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance; Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals,” he said.

At the same time, advocates for Liberians in the United States have urged President Trump to simply extend the protections. Members of Congress from Minnesota, which has the largest Liberian population in the country, wrote a letter to Mr. Trump this month to echo those requests.

“Many of these people have been in our state for decades, and they are an important part of our communities, where they serve as business owners, teachers and healthcare workers,” the lawmakers wrote President Trump asking for an extension.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Emira Woods, a Liberian-American advocate for immigrants, has described the president’s decision as a mixed bag.


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