“There are thousands of tenants and homeowners who work hard to support their
families and losing DED means losing it all.”
New York, NY – Media reports in the Los Angeles Times and City Limits Magazine highlight the tight-knit Liberian DED community in Staten Island, New York, and the devastation they are now facing in the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision to end Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberian immigrants.
Liberian immigrants have made several neighborhoods in Staten Island their homes, including Park Hill, Clifton, and Stapleton. Park Hill Avenue in Clifton is even referred to as ‘Little Liberia,’ as both of the cited pieces below note.
Key excerpts follow below:
By Nina Agrawa
On Staten Island, New York City’s smallest and whitest borough — and the only one that voted for Trump — Liberians are clustered in a few brick apartment buildings along Park Hill Avenue. The area, next to the island’s northeastern shore, was once plagued by violent crime and drugs, but is today a mostly peaceful, tightknit community shared with immigrants from other West African nations.
“Liberians on Staten Island are at the front lines of the Trump administration’s attack on immigrants,” said Javier Valdes, co-executive director of the immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York. “This community is … experiencing the pain that will strike roughly 300,000 TPS holders from other countries very soon if Congress fails to act.”
In one building full of Liberians, nicknamed the “executive mansion” after the presidential home in Liberia, an elderly woman cooks lunch each day for anyone who needs a meal. On Sunday mornings, women wearing tall head wraps and bright dresses with geometric prints fill the pews of evangelical churches. People take one another food from the local pantry. They don’t inquire about legal status.
By Jennifer Brumskine-Gray
I’m a proud Staten Islander who came to this country in 1985 and have had the good fortune to have been able to become a US citizen. But many of my fellow Liberian friends and neighbors, who fled civil war a decade later in our native land, have never had that opportunity. Many of my relatives have DED, and they have been here for decades. New York is home for all of us now; I can’t imagine them being taken from us, and having our family torn apart.
It’s devastating to see my community fall prey to Trump’s hostile and racist anti-immigration agenda—the same agenda that led him to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Central Americans, Haitians, Liberians, and more; and ramp up immigration raids that terrorize families across the country.
The DED program has offered legal status, work permits and a safe place to stay for nearly 5,000 Liberian immigrants who escaped violence.