President Donald J. Trump on Monday issued an Executive order granting a 12 month Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) extending the legal immigration status of thousands of Liberians in the United States through March 31, 2019. The immigration status of Liberians on DED was set to expire at midnight onMarch 31, 2018.
According to a release from the White House, the limited reprieve was granted in respect to the foreign policy interests of the United States which warrant affording an orderly transition (“wind-down”) period to Liberian DED beneficiaries. President Trump’s decision comes in the final moments of an intense lobby by Liberian organizations and friendly groups.
Full Memorandum below:
Since March 1991, certain Liberian nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia (collectively, “Liberians”) have been eligible for either Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), allowing them to remain in the United States when they would otherwise be removable. In 1999, President Clinton first authorized DED for Liberians, for a 1‑year period, after a civil war had recently ended. At the end of that year, President Clinton found that the political and economic conditions in Liberia remained fragile and he reauthorized DED for Liberians. President Bush and President Obama repeatedly extended DED for Liberians. Most recently, in 2016, President Obama extended DED for Liberians for 18 months. That grant expires by its own terms on March 31, 2018.
Through consultation with appropriate executive departments and agencies and my advisors, I have been informed that conditions in Liberia have improved. Liberia is no longer experiencing armed conflict and has made significant progress in restoring stability and democratic governance. Liberia has also concluded reconstruction from prior conflicts, which has contributed significantly to an environment that is able to handle adequately the return of its nationals. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease caused a tragic loss of life and economic damage to the country, but Liberia has made tremendous progress in its ability to diagnose and contain future outbreaks of the disease.
Accordingly, I find that conditions in Liberia no longer warrant a further extension of DED, but that the foreign policy interests of the United States warrant affording an orderly transition (“wind-down”) period to Liberian DED beneficiaries. In consultation with my advisors, I have concluded that a 12‑month wind‑down period is appropriate in order to provide Liberia’s government with time to reintegrate its returning citizens and to allow DED beneficiaries who are not eligible for other forms of immigration relief to make necessary arrangements and to depart the United States.
Pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States, I hereby direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to take appropriate measures to accomplish the following:
(1) The termination of DED for all Liberian beneficiaries effective March 31, 2019;
(2) A 12‑month wind‑down period, beginning on March 31, 2018, during which current Liberian DED beneficiaries who satisfy the description below may remain in the United States; and
(3) As part of that wind-down, continued authorization for employment for 12 months, from March 31, 2018, for current Liberian DED beneficiaries who satisfy the description below.
The 12‑month wind-down period and 12‑month continued authorization for employment shall apply to any current Liberian DED beneficiary who has continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, but shall not apply to Liberians in the following categories:
(1) Individuals who are ineligible for TPS for reasons set forth in section 244(c)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B));
(2) Individuals whose removal the Secretary of Homeland Security determines to be in the interest of the United States;
(3) Individuals whose presence or activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States;
(4) Individuals who have voluntarily returned to Liberia or their country of last habitual residence outside the United States;
(5) Individuals who were deported, excluded, or removed before the date of this memorandum; or
(6) Individuals who are subject to extradition.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA