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Minneapolis, MN – After the Trump Administration announced it would terminate Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) on March 27th, Minnesota DED holders – some of whom have lived in the country for decades – have seen their lives turned upside down in a day, forced to consider a life outside of their beloved home, Minnesota.
Sam Brodey’s MinnPost piece – available in full here – explains the importance of the DED program for Minnesota immigrants and families in relevant excerpts below:
For over two decades, there’s been good reason to grant them this protection: the small, west African nation — founded by former African-American slaves — has, since the late 1980s, experienced two lengthy and brutal civil wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people; more recently, it was struck with a deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus.
During this period, the Liberian community in the U.S. has grown to about 60,000, with roughly half of them living and working in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. At least 1,000 Liberians currently have DED, and many of them have lived in the U.S. for decades, working jobs, paying mortgages, and raising children.
With the stroke of a pen, the Trump administration has decided that the conditions in Liberia no longer warrant protected status: they argue these designations are temporary, and they should be enforced that way. Liberians here under DED now have a year to pack up their lives, or to prepare for a new life in the shadows, as undocumented immigrants.
John Keller of the Minnesota Immigration Law Center says “the challenge really becomes when you have individuals who have been here for close to two, three decades. There’s nothing contemplated in something temporary when that condition has lasted that long,” he said.
“This isn’t a new problem,” he said. “What’s missing is any sort of empathy and relatability with two or three decades worth of being refugees inside the U.S. from the executive branch.”