Since 2016, ACT has been fighting for the thousands of immigrants from Liberia who are in the US under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs.
Most recently, we helped organize the campaign to extend DED, working with DED holders, the Liberian community, African organizations, and allies from around the country to lobby Congress, rally, and speak out to save this important program.
Today, we learned that the Trump Administration will terminate the program, after a one year transition period.
Given the Administration's record, there was a real risk that Liberians would lose status immediately, which would have been a disaster. This reprieve is a direct result of our community's advocacy.
But it's not enough. We need permanent status for Liberians, many of whom have been in the US for decades and have US citizen children.
We will continue to fight, in Congress, in the courts, and in the streets to make our immigration system more fair and humane.
See our full statement below. And please support our work by making a donation.
African Communities Together Condemns Trump’s Decision to End Liberian Humanitarian Immigration Program, Calls for Permanent Status
New York, NY. – Today the Trump Administration announced that it is terminating the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program for the West African nation of Liberia. The termination will take effect March 31, 2019 after a “12‑month wind‑down period.” Link to announcement: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-secretary-state-secretary-homeland-security/
The DED program permitted several thousand Liberian immigrants who have resided in the US since 1991 to remain in the US and receive legal work authorization. Liberian DED holders previously held Temporary Protected Status (TPS) before President Clinton initiated the DED program, which is authorized under the foreign relations power of the President. Liberian DED was subsequently renewed by President George W. Bush and President Obama, most recently in 2016.
Amaha Kassa, Executive Director of African Communities Together, responded to the announcement:
“Terminating DED for Liberia, now or in a year, is the wrong decision. These Liberian Americans have lived in and contributed to the US for decades—they deserve a chance to do so permanently.”
"As a result of our community's organizing and advocacy, Liberian DED holders will get an additional year of status and work authorization. However, this does not change the reality that most do not have a viable path to become permanent residents, or that returning to Liberia is unrealistic for them, their US citizen children, or the country of Liberia.”
“Now it's up to Congress to pass a bill that gives Liberian DED holders, and hundreds of thousands of TPS holders who are in the same situation, permanent status in this country. We urge Congress to take action on the American Promise Act 2017 (H.R. 4253), the SECURE Act (S. 2144), and the ASPIRE TPS Act 2017 (H.R 4384), which would do just that."