Hundreds of Local Liberians Worry About Deportation
Many Liberians in the northwest metro are worried that a policy allowing them to stay in this country will soon end. The program, known as Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), began in 2007 under President George W. Bush to help Liberians whose temporary protected status had expired. The policy has been extended several times since, but that may not be the case again.
A lot of Liberians live and work in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park, including at businesses along the Zane Avenue corridor. Some say the local economy will be greatly impacted if there’s not a deal made on DED.
“Them having to go back home is devastating. You come here for a dream, you come here for a purpose, to find a better life,” said Waquina Blay, a chef at the African International Market and Grill.
And for many who work at the restaurant, the issue hits close to home.
“So this business within itself is impacted. We have a lot of Africans working here who take care of their families.
It’s just not one person that’s impacted. It’s a community. It’s places like this business. When people are not working, they cannot come and purchase things,” explained Blay.
Meanwhile, Liberian community leaders say they will continue to keep fighting for a deal right up to a March 31 deadline. A group of Liberians from the area are in Washington, D.C., lobbying congressional leaders. They’re hoping to get enough support to convince President Trump to extend the DED program.