In three days, hundreds of Minnesotans could lose the temporary protected status they were given during the ebola crisis. Many of the people impacted are from Liberia, but now live in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center.
"I don't really know what to do," said Jay, an immigrant from Liberia. "We're so confused. We're in the house, there, worrying every day."
He's anxiously watching the clock and praying. We're not revealing his full name because he's afraid immigration officials might pick him up.
"My son was born here in 2013, during the Ebola time, and we got the passport and was due to go back. We were due to go back to Liberia," he said.
But Jay and his wife decided to wait things out, and were given temporary protected status by the U.S. Government.
"I want to stay here because of my son. I don't want him to face difficulties in Liberia. Because when we go there, no health care," explained Jay.
The Department of Homeland Security issued about 5,000 TPS documents to people from West African countries hit hard by the Ebola virus. Many of those folks live right here in the northwest metro.
"Close to 500 people that will lose their status on Sunday," said Abdullah Kiatamba, executive director of African Immigrant Services.
Kiatamba says there should be a transitional legal status that allows for people to stay at least a year. He says sending folks back now will cause a ripple effect.
"There's no jobs, schools closed down, they were depending on their families who came here to help them survive the broken system and what are they going back to?"
Meanwhile, Jay and his family say they want to stay and continue the life they've made here in Minnesota.
"We're paying taxes, we're doing everything. We're paying for our apartment, everything we do we pay taxes, "said Jay.
African Immigrant Services says they are still looking at options. Meanwhile, they have several lawyers on hand to assist people impacted by the deadline.
Sonya Goins, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 18, 2017