The United States President, Barack Obama, on Wednesday, announced the extension of 18 months’ protection from deportation and ordered work authorization for Liberians present in the United States.
A press release from the White House said the decision was pursuant to President Obama’s constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. “I have determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 18 months the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who is under a grant of DED as of September 30, 2011.
“The grant of DED only applies to an individual who has continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, except for Liberian nationals, or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia.”
Those ineligible for DED
The release mentioned six counts that affect Liberians who are ineligible for TPS for the reasons provided in section 244(c) (2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B). DED pronouncement excludes those whose removal is in the interest of the United States and those 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.
It also mentioned those Liberians who have voluntarily returned to Liberia or their country of last habitual residence outside the United States; those who were deported, excluded, or removed prior to the date of this memorandum; and or those who are subject to extradition.
President Obama directed the US Government agency responsible to take the necessary steps to implement for eligible Liberians whose enforced departure from the United States is deferred for 18 months from October 1, 2016; and authorization for employment for 18 months from October 1, 2016 to end on March 1, 2018.
From 1991 to 2007, the United States provided Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to thousands of Liberians fleeing a civil war that ended in 2003. TPS does not give lawful permanent resident status, “a green card,” but a recipient gets to stay in the U.S free of risk of deportation, receive government benefits, a driver’s license, and work authorization.
President George Bush did not renew the TPS in 2007, and instead granted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to the Liberians who received TPS. DED is a directive from the president under his powers to conduct foreign policy. Recipients are allowed to work in the United States and live free of risk of deportation.
Obama extended Bush’s DED in 2014, and on Wednesday announced Liberians currently under it will be able to work and live in the U.S till March 1, 2018.
The exceptions to being eligible to DED are if the Liberians have gone to Liberia and returned to the United States, have been convicted of a felony or two misdemeanors, have previously been deported, or are subject to extradition.