The National Council of Churches of the United States of America (NCCUSA) under the signature of its President, Jim Winkler has written the US Government through President Donald J. Trump to extend the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberian immigrants residing in the United States by at least additional 18 months.
NCCUSA’s appeal came in the wake of a letter from the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) three months ago through its President Bishop Kortu K. Brown, urging the National Council of Churches of the United States to join efforts to persuade US authorities to reconsider the stance on Liberians whose residence in the USA has expired.
The religious group at a press conference held in Monrovia said since the 1950s, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) has served as a leading voice of witness to the living Christ; as such it is important to get them involved.
NCCUSA unifies a diverse covenant community of 38-member communions and over 40 million individuals and a hundred thousand congregations from Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox to Evangelical, historic African-American and Living Peace traditions – in a common commitment to advocate and represent God’s love and promise of unity in our public square.
NCC aligns with secular and interfaith partners to advance a shared agenda of peace, progress, and positive change. Like NCCUSA, Liberia Council of Churches was established in 1982. It is an embodiment of churches of the mainstream Pentecostal, church related organizations and institutions.
“Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God,” NCCUSA’s letter to President Trump read.
As the current 18-month grant of DED for approximately 4,000 Liberians DED holders expires on March 31, 2018, NCCUSA calls on President Trump to recognize the profound impact DED has on the lives of recipients, protecting them from Liberia’s unsafe conditions.
NCCUSA said Liberians currently in the United States with DED have been legally living and working there for more than a decade and to allow DED to expire would undoubtedly force children to separate from their parents, or spouses to separate from one another.
According to the group, failure on the part of the US government to extend by at least 18 months Liberian DED would go against important foreign policy considerations, hindering Liberia’s progress as it struggles to recover from an Ebola epidemic that shocked the world.
Since 1991, Liberia has been continuously designated for either TPS or DED, due to unsafe country conditions preventing Liberians from safely returning. According to the release, in 2007, President Bush directed that DED be granted to Liberian TPS holders, allowing them to remain in the United States for eighteen months.
Since then, DED for Liberia has been extended by all subsequent administrations – Democrat and Republican alike. Most recently, in 2016, the Obama administration extended DED for Liberians for an additional 18 months, after the country suffered an Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and devastated Liberia as well.
“We must respond by upholding our promises to the Liberian people and by allowing our Liberian brothers and sisters to remain here in the United States,” NCCUSA stated.
The National Council of Churches of the United States also urged faith leaders and members of faith-based organizations across the USA to join them in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their Liberian neighbors for the extension of their DED.
The faith leaders however prayed that the US government through President Trump has compassion in her discernment process and extend Liberian DED for a minimum of 18 months.