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50+ Bipartisan Members of Congress Urge Trump to Extend Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians

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DED Set to Expire in Just 5 days

In a letter to President Trump, 50+ members of Congress from both parties have indicated their strong commitment to preserving the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) immigration program which has allowed for so many Liberians to lawfully live and work in the United States for decades.

The full text of the letter follows:

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

We write to strongly urge you to extend for at least three years Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians residing legally in the United States. We ask that you take this action immediately in order to avoid anxiety and uncertainty in our Liberian-American communities.

As you know, in 1989, a seven-year civil war broke out in Liberia that would claim the lives of over 200,000 people and displace more than half of the Liberian population. During the conflict, food production halted, and the country’s infrastructure and economy were destroyed. A second civil war followed from 1999 to 2003, which ended with the departure from power of former President Charles Taylor, who is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence by the Special Court of Sierra Leone for war crimes. Then in 2014, Liberia’s recovering health system faced the challenge of responding to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

During this long succession of uniquely tragic circumstances, thousands of Liberians who were forced from their homes sought refuge in the United States. Attorney General Thornburgh first granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Liberians present in the United States in 1991 and, since that time, subsequent Administrations have extended TPS and DED for Liberians in recognition of the danger and instability in the region. DED for Liberians is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2018.

The United States must continue to do all that is necessary to assist in the reemergence of Liberia, ensure regional stability, help foster Liberia’s continuing post-war recovery, and protect our country’s substantial foreign policy assistance and peacekeeping investments in Liberia. With its recent presidential election, Liberia has only just completed its first democratic transfer of power in decades, and there are still serious concerns about the nation’s ability to maintain peace and deliver essential services to its population. A flood of Liberians from the United States could overburden the country’s limited infrastructure and reverse the advances the nation of Liberia has made. It would also stem the crucial socio-economic investment and assistance that Liberians in our country provide through remittances to their relatives in Liberia. As such, we believe it is beneficial for both countries if this population is permitted to remain in the United States for at least three additional years.

We appreciate your consideration of this request.