Major Step toward Green Card, U.S. Citizenship for Liberians on DED

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The move by the US House of Representatives to create a pathway for Liberian DED holders to get permanent resident status and citizenship comes as their DED extension expiration date draw nears—March 2020.

The United States House of Representative has passed a bill that would offer more than 4,000 Liberians on the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program a path to permanent resident status and citizenship.

According to US News, the bill, National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed on December 12, 2019, includes his provision to allow eligible Liberians to continue living legally in the U.S. and apply for citizenship.

If passed by the senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the bill would bring relief to thousands of Liberians who have lived in the United States temporarily for decades under the DED without an opportunity to pursue citizenship.

The DED is a humanitarian program that protects approximately 4,000 Liberian immigrants in the United States. It has over the past two decades been renewed by both Republican and Democrat administrations because of environmental disasters and armed conflict in Liberia.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Democrat who helped to champion the provision in the nation’s annual defense policy bill, said that the move by Congress is intended to provide certainty and security for Liberians while helping foster Liberia’s post-war recovery.

“This is really good news,” said U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn. ‘We have been working really hard to get to this point.”

Sen. Smith added that her office has worked closely with U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, (D-R.I.), to include the language in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act “because it’s a must-pass bill.”

According to US media reports, the defense bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate on Monday, December 16, 2019, and that President Trump has tweeted that he will sign the $738 billion spending package. The House passed the bill Wednesday.

The move by the US House of Representatives to create a pathway for Liberian DED holders to get permanent resident status and citizenship comes as their DED extension expiration date draw nears—March 2020.

The extension, which was given by President Trump, came just days before their deportation deadline on March 31, 2019.

Although President Trump administration approved a one-year reprieve, he had twice moved to end the program, noting that conditions in Liberia had improved because it is no longer experiencing armed conflicts and had recovered from a 2014 outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

The measure by the US House of Representative also comes less than three months after Liberians on DED lost a case against President Trump’s decision to terminate their DED status by March 2020 at the District Court of Massachusetts.

The District Court Judge, Timothy S. Hillman, opined that the extension of the program is the prerogative of the President and not the Court, thereby dismissing the case.

“While the Court finds that the Plaintiffs have suffered an injury, in fact, the Court, unfortunately, sees no way to redress that injury. In order to renew DED, the President must take affirmative action, and this Court cannot compel the President to take that action under the circumstances of this case. Thus, the Court grants Defendants’ motion to dismiss,” the Judge ruled.

The case was jointly filed by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Lawyers for Civil Rights. The lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, was filed on behalf of African Communities Together (ACT), the UndocuBlack Network, and fifteen affected individuals, including Liberians raising U.S. citizen children.

15 COMMENTS

  1. God is great. Thanks to the US house for doing this for our people and to the American Govt. I am happy for all of you Liberians, and thank God our prayers for you all is finally coming to pass. We will keep on in prayers for you all until it is finalized. This is a great news and step for Liberia and Liberians. But I pray that you look back and help others so together we can help rebuild our nation Liberia and make it save than ever before.

    God bless you all, God bless the USA and God bless Liberia.

  2. And what’s wrong with coming home to live in mama Liberia? To the expats I say quit hiding in the USA and occasionally sending remittance money, instead bring your skills & experience & energy and help rebuild & develop Liberia in-situ.

  3. Mr. or Mrs. Truth Seeker,
    Although you make an awful lot of sense, I respectfully disagree with you.

    The old guards (if you know what I mean) are resistant to change! If a dispora Liberian returns home with an exceptional expertise, she or he will not properly received. However, if an educated returnee is a crook, it’s all fair game.

    Bottom Line:
    Unfortunately, the old guards are entrenched! They’re unwilling to change. It’s not easy to pack up and return.

  4. Brother Hney,
    Your observations are so right on all points. Most educated Liberians who have been convicted of various crimes, incarcerated in America and returned to Liberia are all in big positions of the Liberian Government. Some are Lawmakers of our national institutions.

    Sadly, their previous crimes in America has been rewarded by our people, the Government of Liberia and our institutions. This is why I collectively referred to our current government institutions as a criminal empire.

    Though there are global systems in place to do background checks, our national government and other institutions refused to utilize such systems. No wonder why criminality has taken center stage and is thriving in the Liberian Government.

  5. Yea, you have the likes of Fonati Koffa who is still on parole for embezzlement and did languish in federal prison for years. He was released and placed on house monitor when he absconded the United States to “Impunity Liberia” where he was elected to the house as a representative, and now he is called “honorable!” only in Liberia not vetting is ever done. A criminal elsewhere is an honorable in Liberia. And a criminal in Liberia is also called an honorable.

  6. Mr. Tonyleewaye2013,
    I agree with everything you’ve said. What I enjoy most is your use of the phrase “criminal empire”.

    Sadly, Liberia is trending in that direction. It doesn’t have to be. From my perspective, criminal behavior in Liberia is as old as the country itself.

    For purposes of our discussion, let’s say that president Tubman was the first modern leader of Liberia. But that’s how far we can go. For a period of 27 years, no modern road was constructed anywhere in Liberia. But yet, while he was president, there was hardly any political opposition in the country. I always wonder…. what really stopped president Tubman from building good modern roads in Liberia during his presidency? We cannot put the blame on white people because during the 1950s and 60s, European imperialism was suffocating to death. In other words, colonialism became a thing of the past. The problem here is that one cannot be critical of Tubman without being accused of being anti-Tubman. God knows that I am not a hater of his.

    Mr. Tonyleewaye, nothing seems to be going well in Liberia. Yes, Weah is the president. He cannot escape being blamed. A bulk of the problems stem from the weak leadership of the former president, Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf.

    I was in Liberia recently. I visited a number of public and private schools. I visited a public school that has an enrollment of over 2,500 young men and women. The school does not have enough textbooks for the students, neither do some classrooms have enough desks. Look, this is not a criticism, but rather an observation. The question is…. when will students who attend public schools be eligible to have their full set of textbooks? Until Christ returns? Let’s not forget that before he completed his term of presidency, Barak Obama donated approximately 20 million USD for educational purposes in Liberia. But there aren’t enough textbooks, dictionaries, running water at the public schools, etc. I dare not ask what happened to that money?

    Lawmakers are handsomely paid. Lawmakers are provided with automobiles and other perks. My contention is if it is good to pay a Lower House member $15,000 per month, it should be good to buy six (6) textbooks for a student! What’s wrong with that picture? A Nigerian man once said, “if you can’t change them, join them”.
    Many good people have joined the kooks. That’s probably why there’s so much curruption!

  7. The passage of this bill is a real relief to Liberians. Most o them has been hiding and doing “under the table job” and “we can now come out and do real work and receive checks” , a Liberian friend confided in me.It is hoped that this bill will meet its full conclusion to enable our people work like decent human beings.

    you cannot blame the likes of “Hon” Koffa for taking flight to Liberia because he knows that he will be safe there and there are others like him. One of them is a deacon in my church.

    But, again, Liberia is the only place that most of us call home so we can only hope that we see the light at the end of the tunnel, as some say.

    Peace and happy holidays to all.

  8. This is a good news for our Brothers and Sisters in the US. While it is true that Liberia is no longer at war and that the Ebola Virus Disease has been eradicated, but our economy is at a downturn paste. It is not absorbing the 4.7m people economically. It is with sincere apology, that I appeal to Congress and president Trump that our Brothers and Sisters be granted that privilege. The two countries share a bond that is historically tied.

  9. MY TURN: Thanks to the lower house for passing this “long after Bill.” Now we look forward for the Senate to approve this Bill. Yes, we have bad apples and oranges among decent Liberians in America yet we cannot paint brush all Liberians in the diaspora to be crooks. What we see in the current government and previous administration is the hiring of bad apples and oranges to work in Liberia and that has tainted the image of good Liberians in the diaspora. We anticipate a better, illustrious, no nonsense Liberian who will emerge to lead Liberia someday where competent, good characters, and patriotic Liberians will take the country leadership for the better for all Liberians.

  10. The Long March,

    Hahahahahaha! Ummmmm. Colonialism and Imperialism have never become the past, and will not become anytime soon. It only changes forms, as we go along the time. Until we can become knowledgeable and advance in science and technology, to fend foes, we are in it for a long run. From the SLAVE TRADE to the BERLIN CONFERENCE of 1884, to the periods of COUP D’ETATs and REGIME CHANGE. It has now become “ECONOMY SANCTION. As we are speaking now, France owed France-West and Central Africa Francophone CFA blocks more than 500 billion dollars and counting. These countries are paying into the French Treasury as of now. I’m wondering if France is willing to pay RESTITUTION!

    Let’s learn from some of the Asian Countries that were once like us. They have now surpass us an having seats at global hearings. We still remain a mere PARTICIPNTS with no voice. It is a long march that only we, can decide to put to an end.

    Mamadu Bah N/P (Nurse Practitioner ) Meridian Health
    Born 1982. Greenville, Liberia

  11. Bah,
    The 1884 Berlin Conference was a disaster. It had racial overtones. The Americans were unwilling to fully embrace the terms of the conference.

    But I don’t want to be misunderstood. I know darn well that African countries are still being used and badly misused. When I talked about the death of colonialism, I was referring to the transatlantic slave trade. During the 1880s, the European imperialists were not selling African slaves to North and South America. Of course, during the 1880s, Liberia was a free country in all of black Africa.

    The focal point of my argument was and still is that criminality has been a way of life in Liberia since 1847. I identified Tubman as a modern president. Whereas Liberia was not colonized by any country, one wonders why Tubman did not use his virtuosity to build modern roads in Liberia during his presidency. In my view, Tubman’s refusal to build modern roads was indisputably an act of criminality. Will you disagree?

    Also, it’s an irrefutable fact that Asian countries are way ahead of all Sub-saharan African countries. Should we blame the Europeans because the Asian countries are more developed than all black African countries? Or do you think that the 1884 Conference is the reason why most African leaders have a BC (before Christ) mentality?

    I think we should stop blaming the Europeans. We need an introspection. It started from Tubman being in power for 27 years. Look at the Sierra Leoneans who elected two brothers at various times to the country’s top leadership. Then look at the Gambia or the Ivorian leader who served for 33 years. Then look at the late Sekou Toure of Guinea. How’s about Cameron or the Zimbabwean strong man Mugabe. Consider the stupid man Mobutu. Mobutu married twin sisters and had affairs with Belgian women as a way having fun (according to what I heard) and bought expensive mansions in Europe when his country was suffering. Now, how’s about our ANC old man Jacob Zuma who used his country’s money to renovate his private residence? Bah, what did the former leaders I have mentioned do for their respective countries. Would you blame the Europeans for the foolishness of African leadership? Finally, do the Asians behave like those dumbbells who have ruled and ruined the continent of Africa?

    If the French are collecting money from their former colonies, it’s because your moronic brothas (brothers) are not willing to smell the brewed coffee.

  12. The damage that was done at the Berlin Conference, the inception of Coup d’ etats, Regime Change with no proper planning as to who will take over. Keep us having a corrosive colonial mentality. “ The blessings hands can only come from over sea”. The intent, “ back the green book in your pocket.

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