Liberian DED Status Extended One Year
After weeks of urgent pleas from Minnesota lawmakers and Liberian leaders, President Donald Trump decided Thursday to extend deportation protections for thousands of Liberian refugees. Some of them have called Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center home for more than two decades.
“They work in nursing homes and assisted living centers. They help build medical devices for great Minnesota companies like Medtronic and Boston Scientific. And if they were unable to work, they are not going to be able to take care of their family. They’re not going to be living in our neighborhoods,” U.S. Sen. Tina Smith told CCX News reporter Sonya Goins.
Many of the Liberians have U.S.-born children. Smith said if the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program had not been extended, it would have been “like having the rug pulled out from under them.”
Last year, President Trump decided against an extension of DED saying Liberia has stabilized after previous armed conflicts. His decision Thursday extends the living and employment situation of Liberian refugees by a year.
Prior to the decision, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minnesota, delivered letters to the White House on behalf of a bipartisan group of Minnesota state senators urging the president to extend the DED program before it was to expire March 31.
“Only Comprehensive Immigration Reform Will This”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison tweeted that the extension is “good news for our Liberian brothers and sisters,” but he says “only comprehensive immigration reform will fix this for folks long-term. People’s lives are riding on congressional inaction and that’s wrong.”
Smith says proposed legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for Liberian refugees has sat in Congress for many years. She says that has yet to move forward.