New law to also benefit spouses and children
By John F. Lloyd (Contributor)
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced the immediate opening of the application process to adjust the status of Liberians who were recently granted lawful permanent resident status (Green Card) under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020,
The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) provision introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) was contained in Section 7611 of the NDAA. The momentous bill, enacted exclusively for Liberians, was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019 by President Donald Trump.
According to a USCIS bulletin released Thursday, December 26, 2019, “to be eligible for permanent residence (Green Card) under LRIF, a Liberian national must have been continuously physically present in the United States from November 20, 2014, to the date they properly file an application for adjustment of status. USCIS will accept properly filed applications until December 20, 2020, one year from the enactment of the LRIF.”
USCIS also disclosed in its announcement that “the spouses, unmarried children under 21, and unmarried sons and daughters 21 or older of eligible Liberian nationals” are also eligible for Green Cards.
According to the provisions of the LRIF, legal permanent residency would be approved as of the date of arrival in the United States for eligible applicants, and the USCIS is mandated to issue work authorization for anyone with application pending for more than 180 days.
In adherence with USCIS standards, the new law prohibits eligibility for anyone convicted of a violent crime, or an individual who has ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Community in Washington DC has announced that arrangements are underway with partnering lawyers and immigration advocacy groups to hold a series of process information workshops across the U.S. in coordination with the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA). The workshops are expected to be held in a bid to inform Liberians of the immigration process, as well as their rights and privileges under the new law.
On December 20, 2019, three days after the US Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed the Act into law. The law includes a provision to bring relief to Liberians whose temporary immigration status have been renewed for 28 consecutive years.