On Friday, September 26, 2014, President Barack Obama extended Protected Status (DED) to certain Liberians, who fled a brutal civil war and entered the USA before October 2002. While it is commendable that this group of Liberians have been protected, there are over 7000 similarly situated Liberians excluded from this "foreign policy" inspired immigration relief, whose plights have been overlooked for over a decade. Additionally, as winter approaches in North America, there are thousands of vulnerable (Africans) Liberians, Guineans and Sierra Leoneans stranded in America because of Ebola who deserve temporary protection. In our efforts to fight Ebola (www.fightebola.us), I call on President Obama to exercise compassion and on humanitarian grounds designate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as countries appropriate for Temporary Protected Status (TPS/DED). This request is consistent with the Immigration Act of 1990 ("IMMACT"), P.L. 101-649, established by Congress to provide TPS to immigrants in the United States, who are temporarily unable to return to their home country because of ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or extraordinary and temporary conditions.
The world is witnessing the height of the Obama Administration's foreign policy initiatives overseas, which includes “Operation United Assistance”-the deployment of 3000 American soldiers ($500 million dollars) to fight the worst Ebola epidemic in the world and a bombing campaign ($7.5 million dollars daily) against a brutal Islamic terrorist organization called ISIL to protect ethnic and religious minorities in Syria and Iraq. Even so, President Obama's foreign policy inspired immigration relief must also be inclusive, compassionate, and humane.
Among those excluded from President Obama's immigration relief are over 7000 Liberians, including Liberian mothers of American children who accompanied their American born children evacuated over a decade ago. Also at serious risks are citizens of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone stranded in the United States because of the deadly Ebola epidemic.
It may be recalled that in June 2003, President George Bush ordered “Operation Shinning Express” to protect US Embassy in Monrovia and evacuated Americans citizens to safety. The young Americans are still without protection for over a decade. There are no justifiable reasons why vulnerable people from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone stranded in America this winter because of Ebola and Liberian refugee women and American children evacuated by the US Military over a decade ago should continue to suffer denial of protection, despite repeated pleas from many, including the late Senator Edward Kennedy-D-MA.
There are at least six compelling reasons why designating Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for TPS is an urgent necessity:
1. There is an existing statute; the Immigration Act of 1990 ("IMMACT"), P.L. 101-649, established by Congress to provide TPS to immigrants.
2. There is a clear and present danger facing these people both in their homeland and in America as winter approaches.
3. Unlike the deployment of 3000 Troops ($500 million dollars) and the bombing of ISIL (Up to $10 billion in a year), TPS costs US tax payers nothing. In fact TPS generates revenue for government ($350 per person).
4. The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution supports equal treatment of people in similar situations.
5. Commonsense dictates that if America protects ethnic and religious minorities overseas, America ought to also protect its own citizens and Africans stranded by Ebola on American Soil.
6. Justice and fairness by American policy makers represent potent and cost-free complementary arsenal of ammunition in the fight against terrorism overseas.
The worsening Ebola Outbreak ravaging West Africa has killed over 3000 people and infected over 6000 people and it seems to be getting "out of control." There are no vaccines for Ebola. To contain Ebola, a state of emergency is in effect in Liberia- all schools, hospitals, government offices and borders are shut down. Flights have been cancelled. Many nationals from the worst hit countries stranded in the USA cannot return home. Designation of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS/DED) would bring relief and work permits to stranded nationals in the USA.
If there were no other reasons for compassion, fairness and justice in granting temporary protection which opens access to the basic human needs of food, clothing and shelter to vulnerable refugee women from Liberia, a former colony of the United States or affording protection for American children evacuated from Africa to safety in America or for extending protected status to Guineans, Liberians and Sierra Leoneans stranded in America because of Ebola- one thing is certain: At a huge cost, America is risking the lives of American Service men and women to protect ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
This fact begs the question: So who is going to protect vulnerable Africans and African American children in the winter of 2014 on American Soil, if the Obama Administration fails to grant temporary protection which costs American tax payers nothing? Not Russia, Not Cuba, North Korea, Not China and certainly not Venezuela. Alas, "Charity begins at home." Mr. President, I ask that you kindly consider designating Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone countries appropriate for TPS/DED. Thanks and God bless America!
Rev. Torli H. Krua is founder of the Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) and YOUNG-Africa Inc. UHRI promotes immigrant rights in the USA and democracy through ballot initiatives in African countries. Rev. Krua may be contacted:
www.fightebola.us or UHRI-20 Roche Brothers Way Suite 6-182 North Easton, MA 02356 or [email protected]