With Biden’s DED, thousands of Liberian refugees in U.S. still without work permits, at serious risk
- UHRI Again Calls On President Biden To Prevent More Deaths In Liberian Refugee Community
- Calls to immediately re-designate DED for Liberians NOW!
- UHRI President, Representative Ben Swan (Retired) to address Liberians and U.S. Faith Leaders on Sunday, February 28, 2021, Equal Protection & Opportunities For All Liberians
By Rev. Torli H. Krua, Immigration Campaigner
Boston, Massachusetts- The Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) extends our condolences to all families who have lost loved ones on this somber occasion of America’s grim Covid-19 Milestone of over half a million deaths of mainly vulnerable residents of America, including African Immigrants. But as the truth remains the bastion of freedom worldwide and falsehoods are threats to life, civilization and, democracy, we call on President Biden to immediately end the unnecessary suffering of vulnerable Liberian Refugees denied access to humanitarian assistance and permits to work in the United States since October 2002. This cruel treatment and suffering have lasted five presidential terms, including Presidents Bush, Obama-1st, Obama 2nd, Trump, and now Biden! The denial of Liberian Refugees’ access to humanitarian assistance and denial of work permits for decades are worse than how animals are treated in America. On November 25, 2019, President Trump signed into law an act making cruelty to animals, including leaving pets outside in snowstorms a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) is a bi-partisan initiative that bans intentional serious harm to “living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians.” Convicted individuals may spend up to seven (7) years in prison.
On January 20, 2021, President Biden prioritized the plight of Liberian Refugees by signing an Executive Order renewing DED (work permits) for some Liberians. While this action is welcomed and demonstrates his compassion, the reprieve only renewed protection for a few Liberians already protected by DED/TPS since 1991, thus leaving thousands of vulnerable Liberian Refugees still unprotected under your watch! President Biden has the authority to prevent further Covid-19 deaths within the Liberian Community. That is why we call on President Biden to kindly use your authority and immediately issue an Executive Order re-designating Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), to grant work permits to all Liberians living across the United States of America during this deadly Covid-19 Pandemic and 2021 winter snowstorms.
We are constrained to also call for an urgent congressional inquiry into centuries of ongoing discrimination against Liberians in Africa and the United States. The colony of Liberia was not only created by the Government of the United States, it was created to serve the racist policy of American Apartheid, codified into law by Congress on March 26, 1790. The unmitigated racist law limited U.S. citizenship to only “white persons” and was signed into law by President George Washington, owner of over 600 slaves. Yes, Congress deprived non-white Americans of their citizenship rights and created Liberia as the dumping ground to banish non-white Americans whose ties and contributions to this land predated the American Declaration of Independence. The March 3, 1819 Act of Congress “provided logistics for the establishment of an American colony in Africa”. This Act of Congress also authorized the United States Navy to help establish the colony and the American Flag was flown over Liberia from 1822 through August 24, 1847. Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution of 1824 is crystal clear; “ All persons born within the limits of the territory held by the American Colonization Society in Liberia, in Africa, or removing there to reside, shall be free and entitled to all the privileges, as are enjoyed by the citizens of the United States.” Instead of privileges for the descendants of Liberians whose ancestors’ tears, sweat and blood built the United States of America are suffering and dying conveniently below the radar of American Media and the political agenda of policymakers.
Beginning in 1990, in another egregious exhibition of racial discrimination, the U.S State Department violated the rights of Liberians and the ‘equal protection’ clause of the 14th Amendment by illegally ordering a secret ban on the issuance of visas to all Liberian visa applicants. At the same time, America hosted brutal warlords who plotted and financed the war to live work and travel in and out of the USA. For the past 30 years, the enduring reckless policy of racial discrimination against Liberians continues to also needlessly put many young Americans evacuated from Liberia during Operation Shining Express in 2003 at serious risks. Many members of Congress, including the late Ted Kennedy, advocated in vain for the Liberians while they were alive.
In 2021, under the Biden-Harris Administration, relentless deadly snowstorms left millions without electricity and heat! As the deadly Covid-19 Pandemic which has claimed over 500,000 lives and infected over 28 million mainly vulnerable Americans, it’s horrifying that the Government of the United States, in violation of the “Equal Protection” clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the July 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, to which the United States is a signatory, is still denying thousands of Liberian Refugees access to humanitarian assistance and work permits without justifications.
Moreover, the United States has been generous to other similarly situated refugees from other countries. For example, while denying Liberian Refugees access to humanitarian assistance and permits to work, Congress passed a law in 1992 that allowed 52,968 Chinese nationals granted DED after the Tiananmen Square incident to adjust to permanent residency status. Later, in 1998, Congress also passed legislation that allowed 150,000 Nicaraguans, 5,000 Cubans, 200,000 El Salvadorans, and 50,000 Guatemalans to adjust to permanent residency status. Without justifications, Liberian Refugees continue to be denied the basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter or permits to work under President Biden!
Finally, it’s in America’s best interest to end centuries of racial discrimination, American Colonization, and misery Liberians are experiencing at home and across the United States for decades because racial discrimination undermines American unity. Alas, “United we stand. Divided we fall.”