Relief for Liberian Refugees: Congress Extends Green Card, Citizenship Application Deadline
Liberian immigrants seeking permanent resident status — and ultimately citizenship — received some good news this week.
Congress recently voted to extend the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) program by one year.
The provision, which was included in the $900 billion COVID relief bill was set to expire on Dec. 20 The extension, which goes through Dec. 21, 2021, is expected to help another 7,500 Liberian refugees.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement and relief,” said Nelima Sitati Munene, executive director of the Brooklyn Park-based African Career, Education & Resource, Inc. “2020 has been a challenge for everybody, for us as a community, and as a nation. Giving people more time is always a good thing.”
Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center have one of the highest concentrations of Liberian refugees in the entire country.
“We know that there are also members of the Minnesota congressional delegation, on both sides of the aisle, who have been helping and working on this, given the significance of the Liberian population that we have here in Minnesota,” Sitati Munene said. “So we’d just like to recognize that.”
The program allows eligible Liberians to apply for a green card and ultimately citizenship, which was difficult to do in 2020 because the pandemic delayed processes and mandatory in-person interviews.