The problem of deportation facing over 4000 Liberians the United States when their TPS (Temporary Protective Status) and DED (Deferred Enforced Deportation) expires within the next three days, on March 31, 2018, is a matter of grave urgency.
A full explanation of the issues surrounding the gravity of the situation is fully explained in the comprehensive front page story published in yesterday’s Daily Observer, produced by a former Reporter of this newspaper, John Lloyd, upon the request of Observer Publisher, Kenneth Y. Best. John Lloyd worked for the newspaper for many years in the 1980s, prior to his departure for the USA for further studies.
Once in the USA, the intelligent, assertive and hardworking young Lloyd soon identified himself with the Liberian Community in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, of which he soon, in the mid-1990s, became their president.
Young Lloyd joined many other Liberians, including officials of ULAA (Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas) to visit the White House, Department of State and the US Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives), lobbying not only for US intervention to stop the civil war in Liberia.
Lloyd and others also lobbied the White House, under the first President Bush (George Herbert Walker), President Bill Clinton and later President George W. Bush, to enable thousands of Liberians without permanent status in the USA to remain in that country, be permitted to work and to avoid enforced deportation.
With the assistance of the Congressional Black Caucus, several influential Congressmen, including Senator Jack Reed and Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Senators Hilary Clinton and Chuck Schumer of New York and others, this patriotic intervention gave rise to the DED (Deferred Enforced Deportation) and the TPS (Temporary Protective Status).
Through these two instruments, granted by successive US Administrations, including the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George Walker Bush and President Barrack Obama, Liberians without permanent status in the USA were enabled to remain in the country and work.
But because these instruments are not permanent but temporary, they must, through the generosity of the sitting President, urged by Liberians’ powerful friends in Congress, be renewed. The powerful friends in Congress, however, need constant prompting; and so does the man sitting in the White House.
That is why we asked John Lloyd to do this comprehensive article, published in yesterday’s Daily Observer, to give sufficient background to Foreign Minister Gbezohngar Findley, so that he may do two things: first, immediately contact our Ambassador to the United States, Lois Brutus, for her full assessment and advice.
Second, Minister Findley should contact President George Weah to intervene by immediately contacting President Donald Trump, through the US Embassy near Monrovia, putting in a word to the US Leader on behalf of President Weah’s people in America.
Liberia is in no position to handle the deportation of 4000 Liberians back here. First, to do that would mean that these people would lose everything they have acquired in that country over many decades—their homes, their jobs and other assets.
It would also have devastating impact on the Liberian economy from two standpoints: first, the Liberians would become immediately impoverished and be in no position to send remittances back home. Second, where would the Liberian government find the money, the housing, the food, the jobs to accommodate even 2000 people—and the schools for their children?
The only thing to do, then, is to appeal to President Trump to renew the TPS and the DED, to allow the Liberians to remain in America, while the Liberian government opens the diplomatic channels toward finding a permanent solution to the status of Liberians in the USA.
It is all about diplomacy. Minister Findley must open the diplomatic channels to enable President Weah to act immediately to bring hope to our people in America.
But time is not on our side!